Skip to main content

Full text of "The origins of invention; a study of industry among primitive peoples"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 



d u--r 

I J 


. Edited by HAVELOCK ELLIS. 








OTIS T. MASON, A.M., Ph.D., 

Curator of the Department of Ethnology in the United States National 
Museum^ Sniithsonia^f, Institution^ Washington, U,S,A. 

• • • 

• • • 






• • • 

• • • 

« • 
ft • 



At the celebration of the centenary of the American patent 
system in Washington (1891), I read a paper on the " Birth 
of Invention." The present volume is an expansion and 
illustration of the principles laid down in that paper. The 
history of the development of the inventive faculty is the 
history of humanity. In other respects we may resemble 
our friends the brutes, but here we part company intellec- 
tually, subdue and enslave them, and have dominion over 
the earth. 

The term invention applies to four different yet related 
groups of phenomena : — 

1. The things and institutions invented. 

2. The mental acts involved. 

3. The lewards and benefits of these acts. 

4. The powers and materials of nature invoked. 

I hold that all industries, arts, languages, institutions, and 
philosophies are inventions. The history of the mental acts 
is the account of an evolutionary series, beginning with 
taking notice and following examples, and ending with the 
highest co-operation in a great industrial establishment, 
with a symphony, with the writing of a dictionary, or with 
the framing of a government. The benefit or reward has 


also followed by analogy the processes of creation in Nature, 
from a single advantage accruing only to the inventor, up to 
a world-blessing conception. 

As to the resources and powers of nature invoked, these 
have come into the service of man according to the law of 
ever-increasing complexity of structure for the performance 
of a greater variety of functions. The order of commanding 
kinetic energy has been the employment of — 

1 . Man-power in every pursuit. 

2. Fire as an agent, in cooking, pottery, metallurgy, &c. 

3. The power of a spring as in a bow or trap. 

4. Beast-power, for burden and traction. 

5. Wind-power, on sails, and mills, and in draught. 

6. Water-power, as a conveyance, and a motor, and gravity 
or weight generally. 

7. Steam-power, utilisation of an expanding gas. 

8. Chemical power, in the arts of the civilised. 

9. Electric power, motors, message-bearers, in mechanics 
and illumination. 

10. Light as a mechanical servant, only beginning to be 

With Professor Payne I hold that the course of civilisa- 
tion has been from naturalism to artificialism. And upon 
the lines of Mr. Spencer's division of activity into regulative 
and operative categories, it is the regulative side that 
exhibits the greatest differentiation and improvement. For 
instance, in simple tools, consisting of a working part and a 
manual part, it is the latter that has undergone enormous 
differentiations in applying the variety of kinetic energies. 

I wish to express my gratitude to Professor Tylor, 
General Pitt Rivers, and Sir John Lubbock, without whose 
aid no pne coukl write upon primitive technological subjects ; 


to the Smithsonian Institution and the Bureau of Ethnology 
at Washington for a thousand favours ; to Mr. E. F. im 
Thurn, Mr. Man, and other modern travellers and ethnolo- 
gists who, under the inspiration of the British " Notes and 
Queries," have vastly improved the material upon which 
studies are founded. I have been greatly aided by Professor 
Payne^s History of America^ and Mr. Henry Balfour's studies 
in the evolution of art, by M. Adrien de Mortillet's writings, 
and by the investigations of Mr. J. D. McGuire, Dr. Walter 
Hough, Professor Holmes, and Mr. F. H. Gushing. 

O. T. M. 




Introduction 13 

T001.S AND Mechanical Devices 33 

Invention and Uses of Fire 84 

Stone-working 121 


Xn£ aOIIEiCS /\iv 1 ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ^33 


Primitive Uses of Plants 183 

The Textile Industry 224 

War on the Animal Kingdom 258 





Capture and Domestication of Animals 291 

Travel and Transportation 325 

The Art of War 366 

Conclusions 410 




** Etonim omnes arles, quae ad human itatem pertinent, halyent quoddam 
commune vinculum et quasi cognatione quadam inter se continentur." — 
Cicero, pro A. Licinio Archia Poeta, section i. 

In this volume I desire to trace some of our modern 
industries to their origins, and to show how the genius of 
man, working upon and influenced by the resources and 
the forces of nature, learned its first lessons in the art of 
inventing. If the reader were to visit one of our great 
laboratories or mechanical establishments, he would see an 
army of skilled and intelligent men working together 
purposely to bring about larger results with less expenditure 
of effort. No one of these men would dream of doing all 
this work alone. A few years ago it would not have been 
possible for any number of men even to undertake it. 
There has been orderly procession, therefore, in the task 
to be done, and there has been growing complexity of 
organisation in the agency to be employed. In short, there 
is a close analogy between the natural history of the 
kingdoms of nature and the unfolding of the arts of life. 
The methods of studying the one may be successfully 
employed in a search for the true history of the other. 

^The term "invention" is here used in its plain, logical 
sense of finding out originally how to perform any specific 
action by some new implement, or improvement, or 
substance, or method. Fundamentally, it is a change in 
some one or all of these. 



From the point of view here assumed, every change in 
human activity^ made designedly and systematically, appears 
to be 2^n invention. Not only mechanical devices, whose 
working models might have been stored in the vaults of 
prehistoric patent offices and the relics of which fill our 
museums, were inventions ; but the processes of life, 
language, fine art, social structures and functions, philo- 
sophies, formulated creeds and cults, — all these involve over 
and over again the same activities of mind. 

" Institutions," says Emerson, " are not aboriginal, every 
one of them was once the act of a single man, every law 
and usage was a man^s expedient to meet a particular 
case." * 

The foreshadowing of this faculty of finding out how is 
seen in the animal world. In certain exigencies even the 
invertebrates seem to have concentrated their intellectual 
activity upon methods of safety or escape. The conduct 
of one of these creatures in such emergencies is most 
instructive. First, it .discovers a necessity, then follows 
a short j)eriod of confusion, finally the creature buckles 
down to hard thinking and experiment. The persistence 
of these humble inventors is often remarkable. Having 
conceived that a way of escape lies in a certain direction, 
it yields only to exhaustion or death. Sir Samuel Baker 
gives a picture of an immense elephant shaking a heglik- 
tree three feet in diameter to secure the fruit. ** The 
elephant butted his forehead against the trUnk, the large 
tree quivered in every branch." ^ The creature had made 
a discovery and the shaking of the tree by the momentum 
of his body opened a riew world of food supply. Had he 
gone further and made up a cushion to place between the 
tree and his head, that would have been an invention of 
the higher order rarely seen in the animal world. 

This act of inventing involves the four causes of Aristotle, 

' Emerson, Essay on Politics. 

^ Ismailia^ New York, 1875, P* 230. See also Rep» Brit Ass., 1893, 
p. 86r. 



namely, the material, the formal, the efficient, and the final 
' cause. Or, to be more explicit, every invention is made 

out of something, into some predetermined form, by means 
of certain apparatus and . agencies, and to achieve some 
definite result. The ^hange may be in any one of these. 
The inventor excogitates an alteration of causes or of 
movements. In primitive life and in the most cultured 
this is equally true ; only, in the latter, machinery performs 
the motions which in savagery must be effected by the 
human body. 

Again, the term invention involves three sets of phe- 
nomena — the mental acts of inventing, of thinking out how ; 
the things invented, usually called inventions ; and the 
rejjrards bestowed on the inventor, nowadays called patents, 
but granted in some form during all the ages. In this 
work frequent allusion will be made to the growing intricacy 
of thought developed and demanded by this process through 
all history, terminating in the laboratories of invention 
with their cooperating experts, learned in every branch 
of .science and mechanics ; but commencing with the relief 
of discomfort through a happy thought, by means of some^ 
slight modification or new use of a natural object. 

Very similar to this cooperative invention in the laboratory 
or great mechanical establishment, is the united effort of 
a tribe, a community, a nation, a face, an age, the whole 
human species. The results of united effort, along the lines 
of activity, constitute the genius of each one of these. We 
speak of the genius of a man, meaning simply what he has 
invented, or of an age, having in mind all that it has done 
originally or found how to do in a new and striking manner. 
The unfolding of the genius of the ages has been the 
evolution of invention from the beginning. 

The elaboration of rewards bestowed upon inventors from 

age to age should not be neglected. In this as in the other 

series of phenomena there has been increasing complexity 

\ and a sort of evolution. The public recognition and reward 

of invention may itself be said to have been invented. At 





first the public accorded really nothing. The man seized 
his own patent. His better bow or fish-hook got him more 
food, made him stronger, more acute, taught him that 
ingenuity is better than force, secured him admiration, 
respect, fear, obedience, homage, a larger number of wives, 
[ 1 a naore numerous following. The comforts, emoluments, 

distinctions, and power of able men were their first patents. 
Infringement upon such monopolies became dangerous and 
further originality was discouraged. Later in history, the 
tribe absorbed the benefit, then the state. Empty emolu- 
ments and public honours took the place of personal comfort. 
The inventor was crowned, or knighted, or medalled, or 
mentioned in the public fHes, The history of the modern 
patent system would involve all of these. 

" The education of the Indian," writes Morelet, " com- 
j| menced early. When ten or twelve years of age, a machete 

ij is put in his hands and a load, proportioned to his years, 

upon his shoulders, and he is made to accompany his father 
in his excursions or his labours. He is taught to find his 
way in the most obscure forests through means of the 
faintest indications. His ear is practised in quickly detect- 
ing the approach of wild animals, and his eye in discovering 
the venemous reptiles that may lie in his path. He is 
taught to distinguish the vines, the juices of which have 
the power of stupefying fishes so that they may be caught 
by hand, as also those that are useful for their flexibility or 
for furnishing water to the wayfarer. He soon comes to 
recognise the Leche Maria^ the precious balm with which 
he can heal his wounds, and the guaco^ which neutralises 
the venom of serpents. He finds out the shady dells where 
the cacao flourishes, and the sunny eminences where the 
bees deposit their honey. He learns or is taught all these 
things early, and then his education is complete." ^ 

But'.the chief object in view in this work is to follow out 
the lines of evolution or elaboration in the things invented. 
The shelter is the ancestor of the palace, the skin robe of 

» Morelet, Travels in Yucatan^ N^w York, 1871, p. 129. 




the elaborate costume, the aboriginal roast of the costly 
dinner, the digging-stick of the steam plough, the carrying- 
strap of the burden trains and ships, and so on to the end 
of all the products of human activity in every direction. 
To trace out what constitutes an invention in this last sense 
is the history of original thought. What is really proposed 
is a study of those simple tools and processes out of which 
modern industrial life has grown. The finding out that a 
stone is hard and often sharp was a discovery, and the act 
lies within the capacity of very lowly creatures. But the 
slightest modification of that stone for industrial purposes 
was an invention, it was a step in that line of artificiality ' 
which constitutes the progress of man. From this point of 
view, an invention, at first, was a slightly modified natural 
object or process. Every elaborative series exhibited in a 
museum should commence with such a specimen. 
'f^ This barely modified natural object is susceptible of 
further changes, of added parts, of more complicated 
structure, of more diversified functions, passing in time 
from the simple to the complex, from the monorganic to 
the polyorganic. Exactly as one sees in the natural world 
in geologic time plant and animal forms becoming more 
and more highly organised, so in the constructions pro- 
ceeding from men's minds and hands there has been a 
corresponding development and increased complexity and 
multiplied functions.^ In fact, the history of industry is the 
story of the greater diversity of materials used, of the more 
complicated thought in the mind of the inventors, of the 
perfection of tools and processes, which take the place of 
hands and feet and brain, and, lastly, of the final causes of 
the products of men's brains and hands. The play of these 
diversified motives and materials upon one another is one of 
the most interesting objects of human thought. 

' " A change which has completely^ transformed human society, and to 
which the principal features which distinguish civilisation from savagery 
are traceable — the substitution of an artificial for a natural basis of 
subsistence " (Payne, History of Americay New York, 1892, vol. i. p. 303). 



Under the leadership of Gustav Klemtn, the Germans 
have given to this theme the name of Culturgeschichtc^ and 
to its development his successors have devoted most serious 

By analogy with the natural world those invented things 
or processes, those mental efforts involved in the act of 
inventing, those rewards of invention which obtained in 
the childhood of the race, also survive into the present, and 
may be seen in operation in every person ^s life ; they are 
like those protophytes and protozoans, unicellular creatures 
which were once the only living things, which constitute 
now the majority of the life of the globe and which enter 
into the constitution of every higher organism in great 

Necessity is commonly said to be the mother of invention. 
That is, all changes in human action are stimulated by 
man's needs. Now there are two classes of these, namely, 
those that act from within the individual, and those that 
affect him from without. 

Of the former, hunger is the loudest. By hunger is 
meant the desire for food, or drink, or whatever enters the 
alimentary canal. The sense of fatigue and the desire for 
rest ; the pain of monotony and the desire for change ; the 
reproductive sense and many more, belong to these sub- 
jective stimuli. 

The desire for warmth or cool shelter, or refuge from the 
storm, the sense of danger in the presence of savage beasts 
or men, in short, the discomforts which are produced by the 
want of harmony between a man and his environment 
constitute the second class of stimuli. 

In the more 1 )wly organised creatures, dwelling in the 
water, this disharmony is feeblest. The light, the tempera- 
ture, the movements*, the specific gravity even, are almost 
unchanging. In plants, which draw their nourishment 
from one spot, it is more varied. By an ascending scale 
terrestrial animals rise as they are wrought upon by the 
greater variety of stimuli. 


Exactly as the inventive faculty, the things invented, and 
the rewards have passed through interesting evolutions, in 
which also the old ever survives . into the new, so in the 
matter of stimuli there has been a parallel history. The 
pains of hunger are not the same in savagery and civilisa- 
tion. The desire for house and clothing, and conveniences 
and art-products, and society and literature, and the ex- 
planation of things are childish in the one case, most 
exalted in the other. The evolution of human wants, 
therefore, is a part of the history of invention. 

Just as there is an intimate relation between animals and 
plants on the one hand, and terrestrial phenomena and 
resources on the other, giving rise to phytogeography and 
zoogeography, so in the natural history of inventions there 
is the same relation never to be neglected. This corre- 
spondence or harmony between arts and industries and all 
that goes to make up environment enables the ethnologist to 
comprehend the proprieties of each region, and often to 
decide whether an art is indigenous or exotic. The study 
of this relationship between man^s activities and the effect 
of his surroundings we may call technogeography, and the 
necessity of its careful study will appear at every point! 

Nothing is more common than the assertion that men do 
not purposely invent in the lower civilisations, that they 
simply follow the leading strings and the mandates of 
Nature. The savage, it is said, does not invent, he simply 
borrows his clothing from the animals, his house from the 
trees and caverns, his food from many sources. He is an 
out-and-out imitator. 

Now, nothing will be said here against Nature and her 
resources, her training school, and her wonderful teachers. 
Nor will it be denied that most men and women borrow 
everything and that all men and women follow suit in much 
that they do. This imitative process always supposes the 
existence of the thing to be imitated ; the latter does not 
account for the origin of the process. 
, Furthermore, the ' whole amount of human progress 


is undoubtedly to bi? accredited to human intelligence and 
volition. All Nature is clay in the hands of the potter. 
The suggestions of her three kingdoms are only the patterns 
hanging in the shop of the cabinet-maker or the modeller. 
The artificer and creator is man himself. Whatever may 
be one^s theory regarding the manner, the place, the time 
of man^s advent upon this planet, all agree that he was at 
first a houseless, unclothed being, without skill or ex- 
perience, and that by the exercise of his faculties he has 
become the clothed philosopher. There is a sense in which 
the race may be said to have invented itself, proceeding 
against Nature often, with Nature often ; but always from 
naturalism to artificiality. Men were placed on earth to 
dress and keep it, to possess and subdue it. Through this 
wonderful faculty of invention the race has fulfilled its 

An objection to the opinion that physical nature is the 
most important element in civilisation is the well-known 
fact that the latter has progressed most rapidly, not in 
those favoured spots where food and raiments and shelter 
could be procured with the least effort, but in those regions 
where the quest for these things afforded the best school for 
the training of every faculty of the mind, where there were 
the greatest stimuli to exertion. In those places where 
Nature is too lavish the tribes of men have led a languid 

By laying too much stress upon the notion that the 
human race has borrowed all its plans and methods from 
Nature, one is apt to forget that the best of instruction has 
no effect on dull pupils, as every pedagogue will testify. 
The forms and movements of all things terrestrial were 
lying before the senses of animated nature for millenniums 
before our race arrived. How very few of them aroused 
the apperception of the brute, and stimulated him to those 
never-ceasing changes which constitute the life of progress- 
The profound teaching of Nature fell upon those who 
having ears, heard not. 


One is perpetually hearing sociologists saying that men 
do not invent customs, but fall into them. Grant that the 
ninety and nine do follow suit, and in addition grant that 
each one of us follows his leader all but the thousandth 
time. It is the one act in a hundred or a thousand that 
each one originates, which constitutes the progress of the 
world. Again, we read that peoples do not invent civilisa- 
tion, but borrow it ; that one man left to himself would die, 
and that no people ever arose by itself. Borrow from 
whom ? Where did the first lender get his stock ? 

It is inconceivable. It would be ungrateful to the 
ingenious minds that have brought a whole species of 
ignorant and inexperienced creatures to know and to 
conquer the world in an incredibly brief time. If we ignore 
or deny the existence of this adventurous spirit of climbing 
for the sake of being higher, of learning for the sake of 
knowing, of inventing for the sake of inventing, then, 
indeed, would aeons on aeons have been necessary for the 
evolution of our species, and man would have had to start 
farther back than Tertiary times to have drifted by mere 
imitation to achieve so much. 

It is difficult to imagine the motives which actuate 
ethnologists in rendering their applause so grudgingly to 
this genius of invention. Mr. Wake says : ** The in- 
genuity displayed by the Australians in overcoming the 
many difficulties they have to contend against in dealing 
with the hard conditions of nature is often, no doubt, very 
great. Great ingenuity is undoubtedly shown in the native 
weapons, one of which, the boomerang, would appear to be 
unknown, in principle at least, by any other race. It must 
be noted, however, that we do not know the progressive 
stages through which the boomerang has arrived at its 
present perfection, and that it may have been an accidental 
recognition of an operation of Nature.*' * Now, is not 
that too bad? The boomerang arriving at its present 
perfection ! Accidental recognition of an operation of 

' C. S. Wake,y. Anthrop, Inst.y London, 1872, vol. i. p. 75. 


Nature ! Was it not just such a history, of a humbler 
sort, as that of the rifle, the locomotive, the alphabet, the 
electric light ? Recognition of the operations of Nature 
constitutes the genius of invention. The Australian or 
humble people just like him commenced this wonderful 
process. Those cunning little creatures, as Emerson called 
them, invented the boomerang. And there is not a patent 
office in the world that would refuse to grant them letters 
for the exclusive use thereof for seventeen years. 

The civilised man passes his whole life in the midst of 
wheels and cranks and engines of iron. His eyes are on 
them every day. Now and then a new thought occurs to 
him in their motion. An improvement which would facilitate 
their action and lessen his pains or expense. That is called 
invention, for which he seeks a patent. The savage man 
passes his life away from wheels. He never saw a wheel 
until the new-comer showed it to him. But there are 
around him all sorts of suggestive things that take the 
place of wheels. He sees how he could improve them so as 
to facilitate their action, and so as to lessen his labour and 
multiply his gains. He makes the change. Is not that an 
invention also ? 

It surely ought not to fill this magnificent age with envy 
to admit that intimations at least of our times were heard 
long ago. The monorganic form of a tool from which a 
machine is a polyorganic evolution or elaboration ought, 
according to the nature of things, as they are now under- 
stood, to have come first. Furthermore, these old forms 
ought to have survived and do survive here and there, just 
as preglacial genera of butterflies may be seen even now 
flitting about Mount Washington, in New Hampshire. In 
the crude art of the French caves is found the prophecy of 
a people who in this last day should set the fashions of the 
Western world. 

According to Le Bon, '' The higher races have never been 
influenced by a foreign civilisation more rapidly than the 
lower races ; and if they have sometimes adopted creeds y^ 


institutions, languages, and arts, different from those of their 
ancestors, it was not till they had slowly and profoundly 
transformed them and brought them into relation with their 
mental constitution." ' Compare this with oft-repeated 
assertions that no race or people has ever raised itself to any 
higher culture. The race or people that did not lay at least 
one dressed stone on this stately edifice can not possibly 
have survived. 

Schweinfurth says : " A people, as long as they are on the 
lowest steps of their development, are far better characterised 
by their industrial products than they are either by their 
habits or by their own representations, which are often in- 
correctly interpreted by others." * This is entirely in accord 
with what the present writer has said about the double 
history of the race, that written in words and that written 
in things and actions. The former is circumscribed in time 
and place and intelligibility ; the latter is universal, like 
the objects upon which it is based. 

Again : " It is among the most secluded inhabitants, indeed 
among the rudest tribes, who are partly still addicted to 
cannibalism, aye, in the very heart of Africa, whither not 
even the use of cotton stuffs and hardly that of glass beads 
has penetrated, where we find the indigenous mechanical 
instinct, the delight in the production of works of art for 
the embellishment and convenience of life, the delight in 
self-acquired property best preserved." 3 

Captain Spicer, a whaler, who mingled with the Eskimo, 
told the writer that they often make invention a part of 
their sport. They go out to certain difficult places, and, 
having imagined themselves in certain straits, they compare 
notes as to what each one would do. They actually make 
experiments, setting one another problems in invention. 

^ Le Bon, Pop, Sc, Month., New York, 1893, ^*<^^' ''l*^* P* 342. 

* Schweinfurth, Heari of Africa^ vol. i. p. 257. Quoted in Artes 
Africanae^ London, 1875, P* ^' 

^ Schweinfurth, Artes Africanae, London, 1875, p. ix. See also Man, 
Atidaman Islanders, London, p. 26. 


There is another error, equally illogical, into which a 
great many writers have fallen, of supposing that the ancients 
and prehistoric peoples were possessed of arts and mechanical 
appliances far in advance of aught we have nowadays. These 
are called " lost arts," and it is averred that they are now 
beyond the sagacity of man. 

The answer to this argument is in the words of the wise 
man, " To everything there is a season, and a time for every 
purpose under heaven.'* The thing that hath been is the 
thing that may be, if it is desirable. The reason why arts 
are lost is that they have become antiquated by others 
higher in the scale, or because they were practised by a 
limited number who moved in a side current, whose secret 
died with them. 

Sir John Lubbock quotes Mr. Wallace as saying that man 
is no longer influenced by " natural selection, and that his 
body has become stationary." ' This is a mooted question ; 
the oldest human skulls yet found are capacious enough, 
and there are no data at hand to show whether or not the 
brain is growing. But the work which this brain has to 
perform in making inventions has been growing, and there- 
fore no one will doubt that it has increased in agility and 
knack. The brain may acquire knack as well as the hand. 
At first it had none of this quality, and had to peg away 
laboriously for hours and even days to comprehend and 
perform indifferently what it now does with celerity and 

In the higher walks of invention there is a perpetual 
rivalry between the mechanic and his work, between the 
scientist and his apparatus. In the lower levels of 
progress this emulation is often between the savage man 
and the material in which he works, or the tool with which 
he achieves his result. If one were to mark the history of 
sculpture he would notice at once a constant increase in the 
intractability of the material. This increase would also 
be coupled with a parallel improvement in the means of 

' Lubbock, Prehistoric Times^ New York, 1872, p. 591. 


overcoming the resistance. Each success would embolden 
the sculptor to venture upon still finer rocks. As long as 
there were one mineral in sight that he could not work, 
this would be a standing menace to his ambition. The 
handier he became in mastering the stone that he had 
already attacked, the more eager would he be to find more 
difficult material to master. 

Now these minerals are not scattered evenly over the 
earth. There is no flinty rock in the West Indies, but there 
is abundance of volcanic material and of granular rocks. 
What reckless waste of energy to spend one moment in 
trying to achieve therein such results as the chipped stone 
objects in use where quartz or flint abounded ! The ancient 
Arawak wasted no time along that line, but from his rocks, 
that lent themselves peculiarly to the pecking and polishing 
process, elaborated the most beautiful stone implements in 
the world. There is abundance of evidence upon this 
matter. The ivory art of the Eskimo, the black slate art 
of the Haida, the red catlinite art of the Sioux, the jade art 
of China, the beautiful flint art of Western Europe in pre- 
historic times are in point, and, without doubt, it was in a 
certain sense the beautiful marbles of Greece and Italy that 
set up that duel between the man and his material which 
resulted in the grandest sculpture of the world. In fact, 
when national glory itself declined, the world still turned to 
these spots for artists, and sent thither its sons to breathe 
the divine afflatus. 

A great deal that has been written about primitive 
industries and inventions is wide of the mark, because the 
writer has failed to take into account what may be called 
the knack of the age, or the tribe, or the particular method. 
He has described it as clumsy, and said that he could not for 
the life of him imagine how people could get along with 
such appliances. But they did. You will see a professional 
ethnologist sweating for hours to get a spark of fire with 
two sticks. The savage will do it for him in as many seconds. 
By and by the former acquires the knack, and then his 


trouble vanishes. Lafitau says the polishing of a stone axe 
requires generations to complete. Mr. Joseph D. McGuire 
fabricates a grooved jade axe from an entirely rough spall in 
less than a hundred hours. Every one who reads this will 
recall examples of this deftness ; not only among jugglers and 
turners, but in the shop, on the farmy about the household 
there is always some one who has the knack of doing the 

'* The (lean was famous in his time, 
And had a kind o^ knack of rhyme," 

says Swift, and there is no doubt that this is the quality 
which in the higher pursuits of life we call genius. Now 
this quick perception and dexterity of execution are not 
traits of higher civilisation alone ; the savage and the bar- 
barian possess them as well. Indeed, it is sometimes said that 
the substitution of unerring machinery has taken away the 
cunning from the human hand. The case is not nearly so 
bad as that, however. No change of apparatus can deprive 
the human race of geniuses, for the man of knack will be 
found excelling in the handling of the new machines. Now 
I have dwelt on this word in order to account for the earliest 
differentiation of trades. Doubtless in pristine civilisation 
every man had a multitude of functions, and every woman 
was mistress of all trades. But travellers tell us that, 
among the Eskimo, the Plains Indians, the fishing tribes, 
the Polynesian navigators, the Australian bushrangers, the 
man of knack takes the lead, is sent ahead freed from all 
burdens to spy out and slay the musk ox or other game, 
while the rest of the gang, men and women, come lumbering 
along with the conservative luggage. The bow-makers, the 
arrow-makers, the skin-dressers, the basket-weavers, the 
potters of the tribe, exalting their occupation and exalted 
by it in turn, find in this social differentiation the greatest 
opportunity and encouragement. The great procession of 
humanity drags along, too much encumbered with many 
cares to acquire excellence in any one occupation. 


One of the greatest hindrances to more rapid progress 
among savages through the multiplication of inventions is 
their communistic system, their tribal intelligence and volition. 
House-building, canoe-building, hunting, fishing in common, 
borrowing indefinitely, parasitism are great impediments to 
personal ambition. When Turner told a Samoan about the 
poor in London, he replied, " How is it ? No food ! No 
friends ! No house to live in ! Where did he grow ? Are 
there no houses belonging to his friends ? " ' But this very 
Samoan and many of his ingenious ancestors had been kept 
behind in the march of civilisation to support those who 
would not work. 

In tracing the progress of invention or culture through 
modern aborigines and lowly tribes in the past, it is not 
necessary to make the description of monstrosities and of 
the deeds of human monsters the chief aim. These are 
atavistic, and ejchibit the elements of destruction and decay. 
The people practising such things are in the suburbs of the 
world, passing away in the very nature of things. It is not 
out of such bloody conduct our present civilisation issued, 
but its progress was away from such things. Our culture is 
the offspring of parents whom it resembles. A people that 
practices infanticide and brutality to women has signed its 
death warrant. No cultured race ever arose out of such 
savagery as that. Among the most seemingly brutally 
savages there is a higher, purer society, the party of 

Mr. Wittich, who lived fifteen years among the Apaches, 
and had their confidence, says that no traveller has any 
chance in the world of seeing the best life of that people. 
The same is true there as would be true in any city of 
Europe. Let the Emperor of China announce that he will 
ride through London, and from the top of the omnibus let 
him take photographs and dictate to his stenographer his 
conceptions of the motley rabble around him. That would 
not be a history of the greatest social unit the world has 
' Cf, Turner, Samoa, London, 1884, p. 160. 


ever seen. No more is the statement of a cursory visitor an 
authentic account of a savage tribe ; he passes only through 
the rabble, and misinterprets what he sees*. Furthermore, 
we are not concerned here with the unoriginal moments of 
any man*s life, nor with the stupid procession that never 
had a thought of their own, nor even with whole tribes or 
races of man after they have lost the divine genius of 
devising. The people that ceases to invent ceases to grow. 
Our concern is with the happiest moments of each, when he 
is in true sense a creator, with the cleverest thoughts of the 
best, and with the most beneficent contributions made espe- 
cially by the lowest tribes to the general resources of the 
race. This will surely be a delightful quest, to ascertain 
how the world has improved under the guidance of the best 
and freshest minds. 

The inventor in our own day is one who is from some motive 
seized with the notion of improvement. In the develop- 
ment of life on the globe, only those species and individuals 
survive which are best adapted to ever-changing environ- 
ment. The progress of culture on the earth has followed 
the same law. The melancholy record of tribes and nations 
that have disappeared in historic times suffices to establish 
that. Sa that, in tracing forward or backward the inven- 
tions of mankind, we are always somewhere near the party 
of true success. 

The progress of the world has been always toward grand 
results. It does seem, therefore, that an unseen hand has 
been holding a candle in the darkness to guide the successful 
races upward and onward. Also it seems that when a 
people got beyond the enlightening ray of this world- 
inviting beacon, they sooner or later declined and dis- 
appeared. A nation or an individual, in this regard, stands 
to this spirit of progress very much as the old-world people 
did to the oceanic currents. Columbus discovered a new 
world only when he was in the stream. 

In the prosecution of this inquiry there are several kinds 
of witnesses to be interrogated: (i) the relics of bygone 


ages and peoples ; (2) the operations of modern savages ; 
(3) the publications of historians and travellers who were 
acquainted with savage tribes long ago ; (4) the languages 
of cultured and uncultured races ; (5) the makeshifts and 
contrivances of children and of the folk who never receive 
letters patent upon their devices. 

Fortunately, [in the life of our species the testimony of all . 
these witnesses together affords a kind of ** House that Jack 
built." The last verse, that is, the present industrial 
condition of human knowledge and industry, contains 
practically all that is in the poem. In any great modern 
city, and about its suburbs, it would be possible to get a 
tolerably accurate view of mankind in all ages. 

The perusal of such a work as Mitchell's Past in the 
Present is enough to convince one of this assertion.* 
Indeed, a good patent attorney would go further, and 
point out to you in some intricate machine survivals of all 
the ancestral traits that have entered into iD 

In the more remote parts of Iceland, many articles of 
bone and stone are still in use, which in more accessible 
districts, have been replaced by metal or earthenware. Mr. 
Anderson saw a wheelbarrow with a stone wheel, a steel- 
yard with a stone weight, a hammer with a stone head, 
and a net with bone sinkers. At the same farm a quern 
was in use, also horn stirrups, harness fastenings of bone, 
to say nothing of bone pins and bone dice. The County 
Council of the district meets in a spacious cave in the lava.^ 
[if the pristine artist or invention be represented by the 
letter a^ then in the next epoch or improvement, going 
upward, this same implement or process or artisan will still 
survive, slightly modified, and may be represented by a\ 

There will be in the second epoch also new men and 
methods and appliances, for which the letter b may stand, 
and the symbol of the whole artisan class, or the total of 
processes or the aggregate of devices will be a + b. In the 

' Arthur Mitchell, The Past in the Present, New York, 1881, Harpers. 
" Tempest Anderson,/. Soc, Arts, London, 1892, vol. xl. p. 400. 



third epoch it will be a" -h d' + c ; and in the fourth 
a'" + d" + c' + dj and so on. It has indeed been said that 
the latest of great modern inventors are an epitome of the 
genius of the world. 

It is a fact, then, that our modern activities, with their 
results and methods and appliances, are the descendants of 
a long line of ancestors, that become more and more obscure 
and humble as we trace them backward. This being true, it 
is with the greater difficulty that the evidences of their 
existence and standing are brought together. As in other 
genealogies, names are dropped out or transposed, and the 
continuity of history is interrupted^ In the case of inven- 
tions there is another method of checking off paternity 
which must not be neglected, namely, the study of peoples 
now living. For example, the wheeled vehicle exists as a 
native product in China, but not in Corea. The Coreans 
are for that reason behind the Chinese in this particular, 
and certainly represent a pre-Chinese civilisation. These 
have art -products unknown to the Manchu, and that 
relegates the latter to an elder day, other things being 
equal. Of course, in any case, before making such an 
assertion search should be made for evidences of degradation 
from higher standards. 

In making up our minds concerning the status of an 
ancient people from certain things in their graves com- 
pared with similar things in possession of a modern tribe, 
it is also quite necessary to examine the tenure of the modern 
tribes by which they hold the things in evidence. There 
are at least three forms of ownership involved. The 
specimen of which we are speaking may be the product of 
a native art of a people in a rising scale. Or they may 
practice this art now while declining in culture. Or 
they may have borrowed it out and out, as the Navajo s 
have borrowed weaving, still living in wretched hogans, 
and held back from the wild savagery of their cousins, the 
Apaches, by the possession of sheep which they borrowed 
from the Spaniards. 


The pioneers in culture-history, such as Klemm and 
Waitz, Tylor and Lubbock, and more that could be 
mentioned, gathered with their best judgment into the 
works that have been our text-books, and with the greatest 
possible diligence, what travellers, explorers, missionaries, 
and settlers have said about native races. But the more 
careful observation of those who have looked deeper into 
these matters, have set aside much said by witnesses upon 
whom these great ethnologists have relied. If any one 
will take the pains to study the publications of the United 
States Bureau of Ethnology or the work of Mr. Man in 
response to the British Notes and Queries^ he will see that 
half the labour is expended in correcting errors and dis- 
paraging misconceptions. 

The Mediterranean race is the most mechanical of all, the 
blue-eyed and the brown-eyed variety must each settle for 
itself which shall bear the palm. The Semite is much less 
so. The Mongolian is, perhaps, more ingenious with his 
hands. The Africans and Papuans are more mechanical 
than the brown Polynesians ; the Eskimo than the red 
Indians ; and the Australians are the least clever of all. 
In each several division of humanity there are smaller 
centres of invention, owing both to natural ingenuity and to 
natural resources. In the higher walks of language, art, 
social structures, literature, science and philosophy, the 
peoples of Europe and Asia will need a new distribution for 
each classific concept. The Hebrew has never been excelled 
for sublime conceptions on religious topics, the Egyptian 
invented chronicles, the Greek perfected harmony and 
portraiture in art, the Romans laid the foundations for 

The regretful element in a study of this sort is that one 
must despair of seeing these older inventors at work in their 
descendants. The majority of human races had nearly quitted 
original research when they were discovered. Many, very 
many of them showed signs of undoubted decay. All of 
them were living on the ruins of civilisations superior to 


their own, or were in the possession of institutions and arts 
that they could not have devised. The wiser, younger, 
progressive stocks absorbed all the happy suggestions they 
had to offer, and left them to muse and to die among the 
ruins of ancestral genius. In a great modern factory old 
machines are at once sent to the scrap pile as soon as a 
new patent is issued, and whole chapters in the history of 
ingenuity have been torn up on the uprearing of a new and 
more advanced culture. 



** What a plastic little creature man is ! so shifty, so adaptive ! his body 
a chest of tools, and he making himself comfortable in every climate, in. 
every condition." — Emerson. 

Among inventions, the class of objects that are not an end 
in themselves, but which are used as means to ends, occupy 
a very prominent place. They are covered by such terms 
as " tools," " implements," " machines.*' 

Many of these are the apparatus of special crafts, and 
should be considered among the inventions belonging to 
those crafts. But a great many of them have come down 
from remote antiquity, and belong to workmen of every 

The tool chest of the Andamanese, according to Man, 
would contain a stone anvil, stone hammers, chips, and 
cooking stones ; one or more Cyrena shells for preparing 
arrow-shafts, for sharpening knives of cane and bamboo ; 
and boar's tusks, for carving spoons, for knives in cutting 
thatch or meat, for scrapers in separating bast and bark in 
cord-making, for carving, and even for planes. 

You would also find Area shells for pot-making, Pinna 
shells for receptacles, and food plates and Nautilus shells for 
drinking-cups. The bamboo spear shafts, water holders, 
food receptacles, knives, netting-needles, tongs, &c., would 
call attention to the usefulness of that plant. Paint brushes 
from the drupe of the Pandanus Andamanensium * should 
not be overlooked. 

' £. H. Man, Atidaman Islanders y London, 18S3, P* ^S^* 

3 33 


Under the head of general appliances for industrial 
processes may be included tools^ mechanical powers^ metric 
apparatusy natural forces^ and machinery, M. Adrien de 
Mortillet has made a classification of simple tools which 
is adopted here, with additions and modifications.' 

I. For Cutting. Edge Tools. 
Working — 

I. By Pressure. 


Double -edge tools, shears. 



2. By Shock. J Adzes. 

I Chisels, gouges. 

3. By Friction. Saws. 

II. For Abrasion and Smoothing. 
PVorking — 

1. By Pressure and [ Scrapers, gravers, rasps, files, sandpapers, polishers, 

Friction. \ smoothers, burnishers, whetstones, grindstones. 

2. By Shock. Bush-hammers. 

In wood-working fire is an efficient element in abrasion. 

III. For Fracturing, Crushing, Pounding. 

Working — 

1. By Pressure. Chipping and flaking implements. 

2. By Shock. Hammers, pestles. 

3. By Friction. Grinding apparatus, mills. 

IV. For Perforating. 


Needles, prickers, awls, drills of all 

I. By Pressure and Friction. 

2. By Shock. Punches, picks. 

V. For Grasping and Joining. 

1. Tongs, pincers, vices, clamps, wedges. 

2. Nails, lashings, glues. 

' Rev, MenstteiU de f Ecole ifAtUhrop., Paris. 


Before entering more minutely upon the study of tools, a 
few words should be said concerning the composition of 
tools, their working parts and haftiiigs. It is true that 
millions of ancient objects, in stone especially, lying in 
museums and cabinets have now no handles. But it is fair 
to assume that the great majority of them were once so 
furnished. Indeed, in their manu- 
facture the artificer spent as much 
time and pains in getting them 
ready to be hafled as he did in 
finishing the working portions. 
The best guide in furnishing anew 
these objects with hand -attach- 
ments is the study of modern 

These are to be studied both 
in their adaptation to the hand 
and in the method of their being 
fixed to the working part. The 
former, for convenience, may be 
called the grip, or handle ; the 
latter, the attachment. The grip 
of an implement may be made to 
fit one hand or two, and to be 

held close to the object ivrought 

upon, or at some distance. It is V^^lfTT^' 

really this part that at last becomes \"i: '■-IJa^'er gf Caiifornian 
, . Indian. Grip, a long stnp of 

a machme. otter Skin bound aigund. 

Many savages still use only the 
rudest kind of grip, merely smoothing the rough surface of 
the material or wrapping something about it, so as not to 
hurt the hand, but this is not true of all tribes. 

The Eskimo men and women carve, from walrus ivory, 
musk-ox horn, and wood, the daintiest handles for their 
scrapers and other implements. They fit so exactly that 
the white man, with his much larger hands, is unable to 
use them. No modern sword grip is more convenient or 
more tastefully carved. 


The Indians of the West Coast are not so particular, and 
yet on many of their tools there are grooves for the fingers. 
But a singular departure from this idea of convenience is to 
be seen on South American and Polynesian weapons, where 
for the sake of decoration the maker has carved a ridge that 
would be in the way of the hand* 

But the great majority of haftings, shafts, handles, 
hilts, or grips of aboriginal implements were of some 
material separate from that of the working part, and at- 
tached thereto artificially. The form of this separate handle 
depended precisely upon the work to be done. The saga- 
cious mind of the savage mechanic has nowhere worked to 
more perfect advantage. The economy of material and of 
form to acquire the greatest result with the least effort has 
been thoroughly explored. After the bare necessities of the 
case have been met, tribal genius, imagination, and good 
judgment have had full play. 

To make a list of forms of aboriginal haftings it would be 
necessary to write a catalogue of the varieties of tools 
enumerated in the table at the beginning of this chapter. If 
one would examine the stock in a modern hardware or 
furnishing store, he would have to look over a great many 
kinds of tools before he could find a style of simple handle 
unknown to savages. He might begin with a cylindrical rod, 
and end with the handiest device from the Patent Oflfice. 
There probably never was a more effective grip on a tool 
than the form used by the Eskimo women for their scrapers 
nor those on the Malay daggers or kris. A classification of 
haftings as to shape would commence with a mere stick or 
withe or fork of a sapling, and pass through a series of im- 
provements ending with one in which the hand would be 
covered so that every finger and every muscle would have 
full play in every direction for pushing or pulling or rotary 
motion. This subject has never been worked out by a 
trained anthropologist.' 

' Rau, '* Chapter on Hafting in Alx)rig. Stone Implements," &c. 
Smithson Cont. to Knomledge, Murdoch, Ninth An. Rep. Bur. EthnoL, 
many figures ; Mason, Rep. U. S. Nat. Museum, 1889, many figures. 


The methods of attaching the handle to the working part 
are more ingenious than the grip itself. The following are 
the principal types : — 

1. Doubling a pliant hoop or sapling of wood about the 
working part. 

2. Fastening the working part to a shoulder on the handle 
or to a forked stick. 

3. Inserting the working part into a hole or groove or 
mortise in the handle. 

4. Inserting the handle into or through the working part. 

5. Binding the working part into a sling, which either 
encircles or covers it. 

6. Seizing. 

7. Gluing. 

8. Rivetting. 

In almost every section of North America occurs the 
"grooved axe/* and there grow a great many varieties of, 
wood, like ash or hickory, whose saplings will bend double 
without breaking and will easily split. The Indians were 
accustomed to take a piece of one of these saplings about sijc 
feet long and split it, so that in bending about the groove of 
the axe or adze or hammer, it would neatly fit. The hafting 
was completed by securely seizing the sides together near 
the working piece and at the grip. The method of this 
seizing will be presently explained. This style might have 
been seen in the United States anywhere between the two 

In Matthews^s "Mountain Chant" two young Navajos are 
sent out to chop poles for their tent. They had grooved 
stone axes, and for handles they bent flexible twigs of oak 
and tied them with fibres of yucca — that is, they doubled 
the twigs, inserted the grooved axe-head in the bend, and 
made all fast with yucca fibre.' 

It is interesting to note in this account the transformation 
of a myth. While the story holds on to the oak withe it 
adopts the yucca binding. The Navajo moved southward 

' Matthews, Fifth An, Rep, Bur, Ethttol,, p. 388. 


into Arizona from Canada, and carried the memory of the 
oak while forgetting the old-time lashing of raw-hide. 

Fitting a forked stick to the working part was thus ac- 
complished. A young tree was selected from which a limb 
jutted out at the proper angle, having also the right size for 
the hand. The limb was split off with a goodly piece of the 
trunk attached, and this was trimmed to a shape so as to fit 
on the working part, which might be slightly let in, or laid 
flat with a shoulder on the haft. This process of onlaying 
and partly inlaying adapts itself to every type of handle 
used in savagery. The Eskimo even take old plane bits 
and iron axe-heads procured from whalers and so haft them. 
The boat-builders of the West Coast and the inhabitants of 
Australasia of every race make most varied and ingenious 
uses of the method. It has very great advantage to a 
savage whose grindstones are frequently of difficult access. 
• The lashing or seizing can be readily done up and undone 
and the stone or metal working part quickly removed, 
sharpened, and replaced. The many ways of holding the 
parts together will quickly be explained. 

Inserting the working part into the handle may be a 
much older and more primitive process. In the Swiss Lake 
dwellings are found good-sized blocks of antler, into the 
spongy end of which the poll of a small celt was driven. 
This block of antler was afterwards itself used as a handle, or 
again was inserted into another piece to serve therefor. 
The very same process is in vogue in America in our day 
wherever the antler or suitable material may be found. 
The tough exterior of antler and bone, and their spongy 
interior would almost suggest themselves to the most 
ignorant savage. While for small tools such as per- 
forators, the rustic and the savage alike know that pith is 
soft and that the wood of some plants is very tough. This 
process may be seen in all stages of development among the 
working tools of Eskimo and Indians. Arrow heads, awl 
points, bone prickers and perforators, even scrapers and adze- 
chisels, may be found in abundance with their working part 


let in or driven into the handle. The parts 
are further secured by wrapping and by 

The Bongo method of hafting an axe — and 
this seems to have been the universal practice 
in true Africa — is to select a piece of wood 
that has a knot or gnarled place at one end 
and to drive the tang of the hoe or axe into 
a perforation through the knob. Fastened 
in this manner the wedge-shaped tang sticks 
more firmly in the handle at every stroke. 
On the other hand, spears and even many 
garden tools are furnished with a conical 
socket, into which the shaft is driven more 
firmly at every thrust.' 

Says Kalm, the hatchets of the Delaware 
Indians were made of stone in shape of a 
wedge, with a groove around the blunt end. 
To haft it they split a stick at one end and 
put the stone between it ; they then tied the 
two split ends together. Some of these 
hatchets were not grooved, and these they 
held only in the hand.' 

This is, in fact, a rude variation of the 
withe style of hafting. The blade is really 
inserted, however. There is a poor specimen 
of this kind of work in the United States 
National Museum from the Pueblos of New- 

Lafitau describes a process which does not 
exist in modern savagery. 1 have found this 
writer's imagination or credulity playing tricks I 
with his statements more than once and am ' 

■ Schweinfunh, Jrles Afriianae, Lomion, 1871, pi. vi. 
fifis- 4. 5- 

' Compare Kalm, Traitls, SiC, London, 1771, vol. ii. 
P- 37. 


inclined to think the following method of insertion extremely 

** Choose a young tree," says Lafitau, ** to split it with a 
single blow and insert the stone ; the tree grows and in- 
corporates it in such a manner that it is with difficulty and 
rarely withdrawn." ' 

A few examples occur in which the end of a stick is split, 
a ferrule or seizing stopping the rift at the point desired. 
The inside of the jaws were then trimmed out, the pole in- 
serted and the outer ends tightly bound with green withe or 

Inserting the handle into a perforation or a socket in the 
working part was not a common practice before the age of 
metals. Africa now affords the best illustrations of this 
process in rude metallurgy. But the Eskimo harpoon- 
maker knew how to mortise holes in his ivory working 
parts and to make the handle fit therein. Similar devices 
are not common among other races. The stone workers of 
Europe, however, were ingenious enough to drill stone axe 
heads and furnish them with handles.^ 

There is a " doughnut "-shaped stone found in both 
Americas, in Australasia, and in Europe whose function is 
not clearly made out. Sometimes it is called a digging-stick 
weight, and again a club head. But the handle passes 
through the stone and is held in place by an abundance of 

The modern hammer, hatchet, adze, axe, and so forth have 
all good handles of hickory, but the ancient maker of stone 
implements fixed his edged and striking tools to handles in 
some other way. Though most beautiful perforated axes of 
stone were produced in the European stone age, they are too 
pretty for use. The working part with an eye for hafting 
came with metals. 

The modern 'flail, the mediaeval " morning star," are of a 

* Lafitau, Manrs des Sauv, Amer., vol. ii. p. iii. 
^ Evans, And, Stone Implements^ chaps, viii. and ix. 
3 Figured in Whymper's Andes of the Equator ^ 


class whose method of hafting is well known in aboriginal 
workshops. I speak of the sling hafting. The Indians of 
the Plains sew up a round stone in green raw-hide, and 
attach the projecting portions to a stiff handle. The same 
tribes strengthen the attachment of their great stone mauls 
in a similar way. Indeed, the withe seems to furnish the 
rigidity and grip, while the raw-hide does the work of 
attachment. The long lines of the bolas and the sling are 
extensions of this method of having a flexible portion 
between the grip and the working part. 

But the savage man^s unfailing friend in holding together 
the parts of his tools is a seizing of some sort. It is so easy, 
so effective, so readily repaired, and it makes the handle 
stronger instead of weaker. Hence the Polynesian gentle- 
man, when he goes out to visit or sits in the shade of his 
own vine and fig-tree, takes along a good quantity of cocoa 
fibre and braids it into sennit. If the reader never saw a 
roll of sennit, it will pay him to visit the nearest ethno- 
logical museum for this sole purpose. The uniformity of 
the strands, the evenness of the braid, the incomparable 
winding on the roll or spool, as one might call it, constitute 
one of the fine arts of Oceanica. But prettier still are the 
regular, geometrical wrappings of this sennit when it is 
designed to hold an adze blade and handle in close union. 
While speaking of this combining substance, it may as well 
be said that in the building of houses the framework is held 
together entirely by the braided sennit. The strakes of a 
boat are united by its means. In short, whatsoever is 
wrapped for amusement or seriously, and whatsoever is 
nailed or screwed or pegged or glued in other lands, is in 
this region united by means of this textile. 

The peoples of the world who live north of the tree 
line, and many who dwell in more temperate zones, have 
discovered the virtue of raw-hide. The Eskimo spends 
many hours in cutting out miles of raw-hide string, or 
babiche, of all degrees and sizes. This he uses in holding 
together not only the parts of his implements, but in 



sinew is taken 

manubctures of every kind. It is a marvellous substance. 
Prost that will snap steel nails like glass has no efTect upon 
it. When it is put on green and allowed to dry, it shrinks 
nearly one half, binding the parts immovably. 

Further south, as well as in the Arctic region, the tough 
n the leg of the deer. It is shredded as 
fine as silk, spun into yarn, and then 
twisted or braided into cord. This has 
no end of uses, not only in tool making, 
but in all arts where the greatest possi- 
ble toughness and pliability are de- 
manded. It serves to make a secure 
ferrule on the awl handle, to strengthen 
the bow, to hold feather and head on 
the arrow. It has an economic use for 
every day in the year. 

All aborigines found out the art oi 
uniting the parts of tools by means of 
strings, made of the best .textile . the 
country afforded. Whatever deficiency 
they suffered in their materials or rude 
tools was met by string of some kind. 
The Fuegians are very clever in the 
manufacture of harpoons with long 
shafts. The barbed heads of bone are 
securely attached by string, and the 
Eskimo unites thus the many parts of 
'N'(mheni^"^iiforaui his harpoon SO ingeniously that if one 
showinghowthe"leaf. be broken the pieces cannot be lost, 
shaped blades were _,, , , 

mounte<l in pilch. The poorest savages can make glue 

of some sort, and — which cannot be too 
often repeated in view of the frequent scandals heaped upon 
them — they will in Australia, or in Guiana, or in North 
America, tell you the best formula for glue that can be 
made on that spot. The coast tribes and the Shoshonean 
tribes of Western America produce excellent animal glue for 
holding together the fibre of the sinew backing of the bow. 

Fig. 3. — Hupa Da^er, 


The Eskimo makes cement of blood. The Utes and the 
Apaches, the Mohaves and the Pimas, always carry a stick, 
on the end of which is a mass of pitch or mezquit gum 
ready to heat and cement their arrow heads. 

** The Hurons," writes Sagard, " with small, sharp stones 
extracted blood from their arms to be used to mend and 
glue together their broken clay pipes or pipe-bowls ijnppes 
oil petunoirs\ which is a very good device, all the more 
admirable, since the pieces so mended are stronger than 
they were before." ' 

For cements the Panamint Indians, of South-western 
California, used a glue made by boiling the horns of the 
mountain sheep, pitch gathered from the Nevada nut pine 
{Pinus monophyUa\ and a gum found upon the creosote 
bush {Larrea Mexicand), In its crude form the larrea 
gum occurs in the shape of small, reddish, amber-coloured 
masses on the twigs of the shrub, and is deposited there by 
a minute scale insect {Carterta larrea). The crude gum is 
mixed with pulverised rock, and thoroughly pounded. The 
product, heated before applying, was used to fasten stone 
arrow-heads in their shafts.^ 

The karamanni wax or pitch is prepared as follows : the 
basis is a resin drawn by tapping from a tree (Siphonia 
hacculiferd)^ and is mixed with beeswax to make it more 
pliable, and with finely powdered charcoal to make it black. 
While in a semi-liquid state it is run into a hollow bamboo, 
or allowed to harden in the bottom of a buckpot. It is used 
as pitch to fill up crevices in woodwork, as, for instance, in 
boat-building, to fix the heads of arrows in their shafts, and 
in similar work.3 

Quite similar in tenacity is the ** black boy gum '' of the 
Australians, used in great profusion in the manufacture of 
their implements. 

Rivetting together the parts of a tool is by no means 

* Sagard, Le Grand Voyage du Pays des Hurons, 1636, vol. 1. p. 189. 

~ Coville, Am. Anthropologist^ 1892, vol. v. p. 361. 

3 Im Thum, Indians of British Guiana^ London, 1883, p. 315. 


unknown to sav^es. The same process is also applied to 
other sorts of joining. Metallic rivets were not employed, 
but little trenails or trunnels of bone or wood or antler. In 
some of the woman's knives brought home from Greenland 
the parts are united by means of little pegs or trenails of 
antler. The parts of harpoons are also 
thus joined. After the use of metal be- 
came common among these people, they 
! came to be very expert at rivetting their 
I knife-blades of various kinds upon the 

And now it will be possible to follow the 
:ommon tools of savagery in the order laid 
down in the classification above. 

The jack-knife, the drawing-knife, and 
implements of that class are indispensable 
to the lowest grade of mechanic. When 
only stone is available, he fabricates his 
knife of stone; under other conditions, of 
the teeth of sharks and beaver, or of shells. 
But nothing demonstrates his absolute 
dependence upon the knife so convincingly 
as his willingness to throw the stone blade 
away and substitute one of metal at his 
first contact with a higher race. He will 
hold on to his clan system and his myths, 
but the stone knife must go. For working 
in ivory, horn, antler, bone, wood, in short, 

^.V't^T.^w"'''"* in any substance that may be whittled, the 
Knife, California, , ., -^. , . . . t^ 

the hend held in knife IS the standard tool. For cutting 
place by lashing softer bodies, as food, the knife is equally 
and pitch. ■> j 

m vogue. 
All American aborigines made knives of stone, chipped 
or ground, as the occasion or the natural resource de- 

The African used his assegai for many purposes of the 
same sort, while throughout the Eastern Archipelago 


bamboo knives are in vogue, made while the stalk is green, 
and thus dried and charred to give them edge. 

The Eskimo and Indians in whittling cut toward the 
body, and frequently make the handle of the knife long and 
curved so that the end will fit on the muscle of the forearm, 
to give a stronger grip and leverage. The modern curved 
knife only takes the place of one with stone blade, and it 
may now be seen throughout the whole intercontinental 
area from Lapland to Labrador. 

The Polynesians had no other knife than a piece of 
bamboo cane. The serrated edge of the tool was formed 
in the extreme outer rind of the bamboo, and when the 
material has been recently split this edge is very sharp. 
And Ellis expresses his astonishment at the facility with 
which a large hog could be cut up with no other in- 

The readiness with which the peculiar structure of the 
cane and the bamboo has been seized upon everywhere for 
domestic knives, assists in the interpretation of the oft- 
repeated maxim that similar inventions spring from like 
environments and stress. 

The shears of savages do not work like those of the 
civilised. There is not a pair of cutting edges, one working 
along the other. There is only one cutting edge, and the 
other piece is held at right angles. Indeed, there is no cloth 
or ribbon to be cut, only skins and human hair. The savage 
mother holds a bit of wood or leather against the child's 
head and haggles off the ends of the hair with a sharp stone, 
or a shell. The finishing touches are given with a fire 
brand. This practice was common among all American 

For cutting the skins of animals the modern shears were 
preceded by the woman^s knife,' called «/», among the 
Eskimo. This consisted formerly of a blade of chert inserted 

' Polyttes* Researches^ vol. iv. p. 346. 

=* Mason, " The Ulu or Woman's Knife," Rep. U. 5. Nat, Mus., 1890, 
pp. 411-416.' 


into a handle of ivory or wood, and glued fast. But even 
conservative Eskimo women obeyed the law of utility, and 
substituted iron blades on the advent of the whalers. All 
other women in the primitive world used similar shears, 
cutting skin as the modern saddler does, who has not a pair 
of shears in his shop. 

The Algonkian Indians of North America secured splints 
of elm, birch, ash, and other hard woods of uniform thick- 
ness, by beating a log until the annual layers were loosened. 

Fig. 5. — The "Woman's Knife," showing primilive form of grip. 

They were then peeled off, scraped, and dressed into ribbons 
of the same width and woven into basketry. 

For the jack-plane and the smoothing -plane, savagery has 
no mechanical substitute. There the set gauge to deter- 
mine the thickness of the shaving is the thumb, which, in 
lieu of a better one, does tolerably well. The drawing- 
knife, the spokeshave, and such refined modern cutting 
tools, are all the lineal descendants of the primitive jack- 
knife, or curved knife, indeed, of the flake of flint or other 
hard stone struck off and used at the cutting edge. Lucien 
Turner, however, collected genuine little spokeshaves, with 
blades of chert, for dressing whalebone.' 

The mechanic's edge tools in civilisation are axes, adzes, 
' Cullccliuns of the United Slate;; National MuMium. 



and chisels of some sort. In general terms these work 
across the grain, with the grain, and into the grain. 
The lines are very feebly drawn in savagery. The very same 
stone blade is inserted into an antler and mounted on a 
helve for an axe, attached to a forked handle for an adze, 
and bound to the shouldered end of a straight handle 
for a chisel. The axe of savagery is a laborious tool, 
requiring great force and doing little execution. The adze 
is better, and in the culture areas where great trees abound 
near water, no aboriginal work is more attractive than the 
canoes tooled down with stone adzes. The chisel of savagery 
was seldom struck with a mallet. It was shoved from the 
workman after the manner of the modern trimming-chisel, 
and employed chiefly in connection with fire, as in hollowing 
out canoes. The invention of the tenon and mortise, the 
peculiar creation of the chisel, belongs to a culture-status in 
which domestic animals and extended commerce enter. 
Both in the East and the West Indies excellent adze and 
chisel blades were made of the great clam shells. 

The Munbuttoo have an adze of iron which strongly calls 
to mind the socketted bronze celts of Scandinavia. A fork 
of a sapling serves for handle, one limb remaining long for 
the hands, the other cut short and inserted into the conical 
socket of the blade. " With this tool," says Schweinfurth, 
** Monbuttoo rough-hew their wooden vessels, subsequently 
smoothing and carving them more finely with a one-edged 
knife." ' 

The inhabitants of the Nubian part of the Nile valley use 
this mattock-like tool almost exclusively for all kinds of 
woodwork, while a real hatchet is never employed. 

Saws are used by workmen in civilisation for cross-cutting 
and for ripping. The savage does not use the saw for the 
latter purpose. He gets out puncheons and planks by means 
of innumerable wedges distributed along a great log. Bone 
and harder substances he rips by boring a series of holes 

* Schweinfurth, Artes Africanae^ London, 1875, P* xxiii, fig. 11. In 
Finland iron axes preserve the peculiar shape of the ancient bronze blades. 


through the substance in a straight line, and then breaking 
the pieces asunder with a blow. The rip-saw is in full force 
in China, Japan, and Corea. In ancient Egypt bronze saws 
were used, but the ripping was done single-handed.' 

The cross-cut saw, on the contrary, is one of the oldest 
tools. There is no tribe of men who do not know how to 
haggle off a piece of wood by sawing with a jagged stone. 
This same method is used in separat- 
ing antler, horn, ivory, and other in- 
I dust rial substances. The archieologists 
L find among their collections blades of 
I hard material serrated, and appearing 
to have been designed for saws. They 
will do the work excellently, and they 
seem to suit no other purpose. This 
tool must not be confounded with the 
stone-cutter's method of sawing stone and 
other hard substances by using sand and 

Moreover, the ancient Mexicans and some 
Polynesian islanders knew well how to make 
by inserting bits of jagged stone and 
the teeth of sharks in a groove in a handle 
of wood or by sewing them with sennit upon 
the side of a thinner piece. The Australian 
Fig. 6.— Wedge saw-teeth are fastened to the handle with 
made from antler the " black boy gum." ' 
of elk {Ctrvui n .. .. ^ ai ■ ^ 

Caiiadiiisis). But the most efficient saw m savagery was 

a thin piece of stone, wood, or other soft 
substance used in connection with sand, to be described in 
the chapter on lithotechny. 

The second class of common tools that have their ancestry 

in savagery are those that are used for abrading and smoothing 

surbces. When the potter has finished shaping a vessel, the 

■ Wilkinson, Anct. Egyptians, New York, 1854, Haiper, vol. ii. p. 1 18, 

eg. 1. 

" Wood, Uticiv. Rcuis, Hartford, 1R70, vol. ii. p. 35, with fig. on p, 36. 


surface is corrugated and covered with finger prints. By the 
use of bits of leather, or gourd, or stone, she scrapes away these 
inequalities, and leaves the surface without a mark upon it. 

The box-maker, the boat-builder, the fabricator of war 
implements, the worker in bone and horn and ivory, take 
away the inequalities from the surface of their industrial 
products in two ways — by scraping and by grinding, as is 
done to-day. The cabinet-maker with his wood rasps and his 
steel scrapers has his counterpart in the savage worker with 
scraping tools and grinding tools of stone. The Fijian war- 
club maker, 5 the American boat-builder, the African metal- 
worker, grind and scrape away a deal of their material in 
bringing the article into shape. The North American Indians 
use sandstone,«or fish skin, or grass ; the South Americans, 
the^ palate jbones of certain fish, and the rough leaves of 
trumpet wood, Cecropta peltata^ or of the Curalitta Ameri- 
cana ; the Polynesians employ pumice and coral ; and each 
location has its peculiar method of procedure. 

When Europeans first opened trade with the South Sea 
Islanders, steel fish-hooks were among the things pressed 
upon the attention of the natives. But these last, or the 
fish, we had better say, like the mother-of-pearl hooks better. 
But the metal points were sharper, so nails and wire were in 
great demand. Perceiving in the nails a close resemblance 
to the scions from the root of the breadfruit tree, the fisher- 
men actually planted some, expecting them to grow. There 
were no files to be had, so the nails were formed into shape 
and ground and bent by the use of stone. The introduction 
of the file] wrought as much change in native art here as 
it did in the New World. 

All of these processes of breaking, boring, sawing, cutting, 
grinding, and polishing are shown by Professor Putnam in 
his paper on the manner in which bone fish-hooks were 
made in the Little Miami Valley. A series of partly finished 
examples were taken from a grave in the Madisonville 
Cemetery, near Cincinnati.^ 

^ Aiu Rep. Peabody Mus.^ Cambridge, 1887, pp. 581-586, 11 figures* 


Engraving, or ornamentation answering to the graver's 
art, was produced on softer substances by means of a blunt 
pointed, hard tool, and the design traced out by a series of 
creases on the surface. This is done on wood, bone, and 
pottery. But most of the decoration of this class was 
accomplished by scratching away the material with chips of 
flint or other hard substances. The Eskimo used to rely 
upon the hard tooth of the beaver, the Polynesian wrought 
with sharks' teeth, and in other places hard shells and 
gravers of flint were employed. 

The Indians of Central America are expert in the 
engraving and painting of calabashes. With a pointed 
instrument they work out designs upon the surface of a dish 
and give relief to the ornamentation by roughening the 
intervals. In painting them the blue is made with indigo, 
the red with anotto, and the black with indigo mixed with I 

lemon juice. The colour is fixed by means of a greasy sub- 
stance formed by boiling an insect called aje} 

For giving a polish to surfaces, grass containing silex, 
very smooth stones, ochres laid on buckskin strips, or the 
hard hands were quite sufficient. Experiments lately made 
in the United States National Museum demonstrate that the 
objects mentioned are quite adequate to the result, with 
patience and knack. The archaeologist is frequently puzzled 
in studying prehistoric methods of working, because all 
traces of chipping and sawing are obliterated by the 
polisher. But, in a great collection of polished objects 
like that of Commodore Douglas, in New York, or the 
jade objects in the British Museum, it is hard to believe 
that every one of them was first battered into its present 

Akin to the burnishing and polishing of the surface 
of different wares is the whole genus of greases, oils, 
varnishes, and other devices for filling the grain of the 
substance and giving a better shine. The idea of preserving 

' Morelet, Trav, in Cent, Am,, New York, 187 1, p. 314. Juarros 
mentions the aje among the drugs of Vera Paz, lib. i. c. 3. 


wood by the use of paint and oils hardly entered the 
savage^s mind. The study of paint as a purely decorative 
matter belongs to aesthetology. But the investigation of 
surfacing would be deficient if it did not include inquiry 
concerning paints and varnishes and burnishing powders. 

The oil used by the Guiana Indians to anoint their bodies 
and their weapons is prepared from the crab- wood tree 
(Carapa gutanensts). At the proper season the nuts are 
gathered, boiled and put away until half-rotten. They are 
then shelled and kneaded into a coarse paste. Troughs of 
bark, cut in form of a steel pen, are filled with the nut- 
paste and fixed in a sunny place, slanting, and with the 
point over a vessel. The oil oozes from the paste and drips 
into the vessel below. Sweet-scented substances are added 
to overcome the rancid odour. Palm oil is also obtained by 
crushing and boiling the seed. The oil rises to the surface 
and is skimmed off with pads of cotton.' 

The calabashes of the Sandwich Islanders are dyed in the 
following manner : When the fruit has grown to its full 
size they empty it by placing it in the sun. The dried 
contents are removed through an aperture made at the 
stalk. In order to stain the shell, bruised herbs, ferru- 
ginous earth and water are mixed and poured in until it is 
full. They then draw with a piece of hard wood or stone 
on the outside of the calabash, rhombs, stars, circles, waves, 
&c. After the colouring matter has remained within three 
or four days, they are put in an oven and baked. When 
they are taken out, the figures appear in brown or black on 
the outside, while those places where the outer skin had not 
been broken retain their natural bright yellow colour. The 
dye is emptied out and the calabash dried in the sun ; the 
whole of the outside appears perfectly smooth and shining, 
while the coloured figures remain indelible.' 

It is difficult to find a better example of the specialisation 
going on throughout all history of men in all grades, 

^ Im Thuni, Indians of British Guiana^ London, 1883, p. 314. 
' Ellis, Polynesian Researches y London, 1859, vol. iv. p. 372. 


operated upon by the resources at hand and yet developing 
the local or tribal technique. 

"The split-cane of the Rotang {Calamus secundiflorus) is 
buried in the leaf-mould in the bottoms of brooks by the 
Niam Niam until it becomes thoroughly blackened. This 
dyed material, mixed with the splints of the natural colour, 
is wrought into all sorts of geometric patterns." ' The 
Indians of Washington State and Oregon have discovered 
the very same fact, and use splints of root, or sprouts, or 
straws, blackened in the same fashion. The Indian women 
bury the split roots of the spruce in marshes to get the 
dark-brown splints for basketry. 

The Andamanese paint in water and in oil colours. White 
clay mixed in water is daintily laid on the body as well as on 
bows, baskets, buckets, trays, &c. This work is done by 
women. Oil colours are made by mixing ochres with fat 
of pig, turtle, iguana, dugong, oil of almond, &c. It is 
applied to the person as ornament or otherwise." 

Finally, the whetstone and the grindstone must find a 
place in the tool-chest of the primitive man. And they are 
abundant. Constant reports are sent to the Smithsonian 
Institution of the finding of huge masses of sand-rock 
whose surfaces show marks of constant use as grindstones. 
When it is remembered that every edged tool of stone has 
been many times ground, the number of these implements 
reported will not appear astonishing. The whetstone is only 
a portable grindstone, and those gathered in museums show 
by their surfaces and grooves what a variety of uses they 
have served. 

Whetstones are found in shell-heaps, graves, and mounds 
all over the earth, and they are of the best material the 
locality affords. They are an 'empirical result of the highest 
order. Among modern savages the whetstone is universal. 
In its ancient forms the great variety of grooves and worn 
places testify to the many kinds of implements to which 

*• Cf,, Schweinfurth, Artes Africanae^ London, 1875, p. xii. figs. 12-14. 
' Cy., Man, The AiKiamamse, p. 184. 


they once gave point and edge. The Eskimo collections of 
our museums abound in good hones. The Andamanese 
wood-worker holds the blade of his adze over the inner side 
of his left foot and renews the edge with his hone. Many 
of the stone axes and hammers seen in collections show 
marks of having also been used as grindstones. 

An implement of the greatest importance in the early 
history of mankind, universal in its use, found on ancient 
camp sites everywhere, is the hammer stone. It will be 
minutely studied in the chapter on stone-working. It 
seems strange that with all the ingenuity that our race can 
exercise it is yet necessary to abrade granite in the same 
way that the ancient Egyptians are represented as doing it, 
in the same way that primitive man did it, namely, by 
pecking and battering away the surface a few grains at a 

But every man and woman in savagery needs a hammer, 
each in their several industries. The Indian women of 
North America with hammers of stone break dry wood for 
fires, crush bones to extract the marrow, pound dried meat 
into meal for pemmican, drive down pegs for setting the 
tent, beat the hides of animals to make them pliable. In 
this last operation they are imitated all over the tropical 
world by their sisters who hammer cloth out of the bark of 

The savage man uses his great hammers in driving 
wedges, in breaking off stone in the quarry, in mining, and 
as a pestle in pulverising various materials. 

The North-west Coast Indians use a very graceful hammer, 
which is grasped in the middle like a dumb-bell. The 
pounding end is flattened out, while the other extremity 
is usually ornamented by carving. Hafted hammers are 
common in Eskimo land, in the canoe region of the Pacific 
Coast and in the buffalo country, each region adopting a 
characteristic method depending on the work to be done 
and upon the natural resources. 

Prehistoric hammers and hammer heads are among the 


commonest objects in collections. Those that are used as 
millstones or pestles are described in the proper place. The 
object in each case, whether with paint or with foodstuffs, 
is to crush and to pulverise without mixing any of the 
detritus of the apparatus with the product. The stone- 
chipping and flaking tools, developed in savagery and almost 
lost in modern times, save by the glazier and the gun-flint 
maker, will be described particularly in the chapter on stone 

The making of holes by means of a punch struck by 
another body is the product of the metallic age. The 
African smith is not only acquainted with the art of 
engraving on the surface of his knives and assegais with 
punches, but he also makes holes by the same process. The 
other savages of the world do not perforate in this manner, 
but employ such tools as the needle or awl, thrust through 
soft substances ; the hand perforator, working like a reamer 
or a gimlet, and the drill operated by a string in a re- 
ciprocating motion. 

There is no end to the sharp-pointed tools employed by 
both sexes among lowly peoples. They use them for sewing 
clothing, tents, utensils, for making basketry and other 
textiles. They have little stilettoes or prickers of bone no 
bigger than a needle, and others as strong as a marlinspike. 
Each one is a device exactly adapted and studied out for its 
work, so that the archaeologist, finding a similar implement 
in some ancient dkhrts^ at once begins to set up in his mind 
the industrial life of a departed people. 

With the two palms a drill is rotated after the fashion of 
the cook in mulling chocolate. It consists of two parts, a 
shaft of wood, with a point of hard substance lashed to the 
lower end. A beautiful specimen of this sort is in the 
United States National Museum, with a delicate point of 
the Alaskan jade. This would be capable of boring almost 
any stone object. 

From this form, having a point fastened at the end of a 
shaft, have been invented the bow-drill, the two-handed 


Strap-drill, the pump-drill, and the top-drill. The distribution 
of these three forms of drills is discussed under the chapter on 
fire. The same method of changing vertical or horizontal 
motion into rotary motion would be available alike in 
creating fire as in boring holes. Mr. Hough, who has 
studied the fire problem thoroughly, is decidedly of the 
opinion that the mechanical drill is older than the fire drill 
— in short, that the heat developed in boring holes led up to 
the creation of heat by this means. 

The Samoan drill,' used in boring the pearl-shell shanks 
of fish-hooks, is precisely the same as the pump-drill used by 
the Pueblo Indians of the United States. In the Samoan 
example the crossbar or handle does not seem to have been 
perforated for the shaft. 

The Hawaiians were acquainted with the rotary drill for 
boring." In the island of Lombok Wallace saw the primitive 
gunsmith at his work. 

" An open shed with a couple of small mud forges were 
the chief objects visible. The bellows consisted of two 
bamboo cylinders, with pistons worked by hand, having a 
loose stuffing of feathers thickly set round the piston, so as 
to act as a valve. An oblong piece of iron on the ground 
was the anvil, and a small vice was set on the projecting 
root of a tree outside. The apparatus for boring the barrels 
was a strong bamboo basket, spheroidal in shape, through 
the bottom of which was stuck upright a pole about three 
feet long, kept in its place by a few sticks tied across the top 
with rattans. The bottom of the pole had an iron ferrule 
and a hole in which four-cornered borers of hardened iron 
can be fitted. The barrel to be bored is buried upright in 
the ground, the borer is inserted into it, the top of the 
vertical shaft is held by a cross-piece of bamboo with a hole 
in it, and the basket is filled with stones to get the required 
weight. Two boys turn the bamboo around. The barrels 
are made in pieces about eighteen inches long, which are 

* Minutely described in Turner's Samoa, London, 1884, p. 169. 
-' Brigham, Cat, Bishop Altis., Honolulu, 1892, vol. ii. p. 31. 

{6 TllE ORlOlfflS OF lHVEtJTtOM. 

first bored small, then welded together upon a straight iron 

The last type of common tools whose evolution com- 
menced with early man to be mentioned here is the series 
of gripping implements. Tongs, pincers, vices, and all such 
things are represented in the aboriginal tool chest. All 
these devices are temporary expedients for holding two or 
more objects firmly together until they can be made fast 
ty sewing or lashing, 
or they are designed 
for holding on to hot 
objects or small ob- 
jects while they are 
being wrought. The 

words " vice," " tongs," " nippers" cover ;the three classes. 

In the collection brought home by E. W. Nelson from 
Alaska there is a very primitive vice just as effective for the 
work in hand as one made with a screw would be. The 
woodworker is about to make a dipper out of a thin spruce 
board. He rolls one end of (he board into a cylinder after 
thoroughly boiling it, leaving six inches of the other end 
still free and unbent to be fashioned into a handle. To hold 
the bent end fast and tight to the part of the board against 
which it rests until it could be secured by sewing with 
whalebone or tough fibre, two sticks a little longer than the 
board is wide or the cup is deep are laid parallel to each 
other, one without and one within the cylinder, and their 
projecting ends tightly lashed together with fine, wet spruce 
' Wallace, Malay Arckipe!., New ^'uik, 1S69, p. 179, with figure. 

Tools and mechanical devices. 57 

root. In drying the root contracts and holds the surfaces 
together water-tight. A block of wood is then fastened in 
one end of the cylinder with wooden pegs, and the dipper is 
completed. Several pieces that are in the United States 
National Museum have been made in the same fashion, and 
doubtless with a vice as crude and effective as Mr. Nelson^s 
specimen. The capability of raw-hide and sinew for shrink- 
ing and holding things together so that they could not budge 
was well known and constantly utilised all over North 
America. These and other savages also knew that twisting 
a cable shortened the length and served as a press. 

The Bongo smith uses a smooth gneiss boulder for his 
anvil, another smaller one for a hammer, with the cunning 
hand of the operator for a handle. For pincers he splits the 
end of a stick of green wood, seizes the hot mass between 
the jaws, and holds them firmly together by an iron ring 
slipped along the stick. The same tongs are mentioned by 
Speke among the Wanyamuesi.' 

In the enumeration of the chest of tools belonging to 
savages we must not omit the teeth, which among seam- 
stresses and other craft people could not be dispensed with. 
Every osteologist has noticed how the teeth in the crania of 
savages are worn to the socket, and we are frequently told 
that this arises from the large quantity of sand in the food. 
Basket-makers all the world over use their teeth in peeling 
and cutting their strands or filaments, and the Eskimo boot- 
maker uses her jaws for crimping irons. Whoever has seen 
an Eskimo boot neatly puckered all around the edge of the 
sole will not be surprised at the brevity of the good woman^s 
teeth, when he comes across her skull in the museum. 

An original and very simple press is found among the 
Haida of Queen Charlotte Sound. Bancroft says, " After a 
sufficient supply of solid food for the winter is secured, oil, 
the great heat-producing element of all northern tribes, is 
extracted from the additional catch, by boiling the fish in 
wooden vessels, and skimming the grease from the water or 

* Schweinfurth, Aries Africanae^ London, 1875, pi. v. fig. 8. 


squeezing it from the refuse. The arms and breasts of the 
women are the natural press in which the mass, wrapped in 
mats, is hugged. The hollow stalks of an abundant seaweed 
furnish the natural bottles in which the oil is preserved for 
use as sauce, and into which nearly everything is dipped 
before eating." ^ 

The subject of the knots used by savages would require a 
book. The arrow-maker, to begin with, has great faith in 
tucking the ends under. So has every implement user who 
desires to separate the parts readily. The manipulator holds 
his left thumb on the end of a string, and in wrapping simply 
covers up this end. At the finish the last end is tucked 
under and concealed so as seldom to get loose. The different 
hitches and knots of the sailor are all well known to the 
uncivilised. On Polynesian spears and nets will be observed 
the whole series of ties that one would see on a ship. 

The Arctic peoples have developed an entire series of 
tools and implements that have been made to take special- 
ised forms by reason of the snow and ice. They put 
diminutive snow-shoes on the bottoms of the long staves 
which they use for canes or alpenstocks. From huge plates 
of bone taken from the scapula or the jawbone of the whale, 
or from slabs which they split from driftwood, they construct 
shovels, lining the cutting edge with thin plates of walrus 
ivory. To the back a handle is securely lashed by means of 
raw-hide. This is for removing the soft snow. But against 
the hard ice and frozen snow they have also a remedy in the 
form of a pick of walrus tusk. This may be lashed to a 
straight handle to form a crowbar, or at an angle to con- 
stitute a pickaxe. These are held to the handle by walrus 
hide as tight as a tire on a wheel by wrapping when the 
skin is green. The shrinking binds the parts so tightly 
together that the whole tusk of a huge walrus is worn quite 
out before the lashing comes loose. 

They make tiny scoops and strainers for dipping the 

* Bancroft, Native Races^ New York, 1874-76, vol. i. p. 163, quoting 
many original authorities. 


broken ice from a seal hole, and paper-knife clothes whisks 
to scrape the snow from clothing. The eyes are protected 
by snow goggles, which are cups of wood with narrow slits 
cut across the bottoms and inverted over the eyes. At once 
these devices keep the annoying snowdrift out of the eyes, 
and prevent the brilliant reflection of the snow from blinding 
the hunter. They put under their boots ice creepers also 
made of ivory, and precisely similar to those worn in Europe. 
The trowel for cutting out blocks of snow and building up 
the cunning, dome-shaped habitations must not be over- 
Having to do his work with gloved hands, the Eskimo has 

thought out an ingenious series of toggles, swivels, detachers, 
" frogs," buttons, any one of which will do its work, and 
some of them enable the hunter to make fast and cast 
loose frozen lines after a whole day's drive. He also has an 
ingenious wrench for winding up his sinew-backed bow." 

It is time to turn to the primitive knowledge of mechanics. 
By the mechanical powers is meant that series of devices 
which enables one man to do the work of several by the 
interchange of time and direction and momentum, namely, 
the inclined plane, the wedge, the lever, the wheel and axle, 

' Fur tools of the Eskimo, syslcmaticatty described, see Murdoch, Ninth 
An. Hep. Bur. Elhnol., Washinglon, 1892, ji. 150-190, with many illnstra- 


the pulley^ and the screw. One does not expect to find all 
of these full fledged in the lowest savagery, but the intima- 
tions of them all are to be looked for among very primitive 
folk. It is not true that any mechanical power has been 
lost. The great engineering feats of the megalithic epoch 
were performed with powers well known in our day, acting 
through co-operation. 

The screw, the pulley, and the wheel and axle, are known 
to savages only in a very rudimentary way. Dr. Boas 
represents a plug used by the Baffin Land Eskimo to thrust 
into a spear wound on a seal to prevent the escape of blood. 
A sort of " thread " is cut on this wooden plug, and if the 
object be entirely a product of native thought, is the most 
primitive example of the screw.^ 

The Eskimo also approached a knowledge of the power 
of the screw in the tightening apparatus on the back of 
their bows and in their wolf traps. They know that 
tremendous power was accumulated by winding a cable 
of sinew by means of a lever. A very ingenious device, 
involving the lever of the third kind, and coming as near to 
the screw as we shall be able to find in savagery, is the 
cassava strainer of the Guiana Indians. After the roots are 
ground or grated, the pulp is placed in a long woven bag or 
cylinder, in which the warp and weft of tough splints run 
spirally and diagonally, so that when the two ends are 
forced together the cylinder becomes short and wide, and 
when they are pulled apart, it becomes long and slender. 
As soon as the squeezer is drawn into its shortest length 
and filled with pulp, one end is suspended from a tree 
overhead, and one end of a log of wood is thrust through 
the lower loop of the squeezer, the other extremity of the 
log resting on the ground. The woman then sits on the 
log, and by her weight gradually elongates the bag and 
squeezes the poisonous juice out of the mixture, the inter- 
stices in the woven fabric of the press acting at the same 
time as a sieve. These cassava squeezers are to be seen in 

* Boas, Sixth An, Rep, Bur. Ethnol.^ Washington, p. 480, tig. 402. 


most museums, together with the graters, which are nothing 
more than flat blocks of wood into whose surfaces little bits 
of flinty rock have been firmly set. The whole apparatus 

is entirely aboriginal, and the basket work of the press 
constructed with exceeding neatness and skill." 

The pulley may exist, and did primarily exist, without 
• C/. E. ijn Thuin, Iitdians fff Srilish Cuiam, London, 1883, p. 260 st^. 


the wheel, in the form of the " dead-eye." Any line drawn 
around a fixed object, as a tree, and pulled in one direction 
for the purpose of moving an object in another direction, 
involves the principle of the simple pulley. All savages 
know this device, both for hoisting and for horizontal work. 

The Eskimo have gone beyond that, and know how, by 
means of a long line, to construct a compound pulley and 
draw from the water the carcase of immense sea mammals. 

The nearest approach to a pulley among the American 
Indians is the woman^s device for drawing the skin covering 
to the top of the tent poles. When the women are ready 
to set up the teepee, they spread the covering out on the 
ground. Three poles are thrust under the covering, their 
small ends passing through the orifice and being loosely 
fastened together. A raw-hide line is made fast to the 
upper part of the tent, and passed over the juncture of 
the poles, which are then stood upright. The tent is 
hauled up to the top, the bottoms of the poles are spread 
out, other poles are inserted, and the covering is stretched. 
When about to strike, the same apparatus lets the cover 

** In Central Syria and Philistia, for raising water, a large 
buffalo-skin is so attached to cords that, when let down into 
the well, it opens and is instantly filled ; and being drawn 
up, it closes so as to retain the water. The rope by which 
it is hoisted to the top works over a wheel, and is drawn by 
oxen, mules, or camels, that walk directly from the well 
to the length of the rope and return, only to repeat the 
operation until a sufficient quantity of water is raised." ' 
It is very easy to imagine this wheel to be either a sheave, 
a roller, or a fixed beam, one becoming the other by the 
law of eurematics. The origin of the wheel is not made 
out. The precise mechanism of those we do see on 
Egyptian, Assyrian, and Grecian chariots and waggons is 
not clear to the minds of modern wheelwrights. The other 
wheel, used as a mechanical convenience in changing the 

' Thomson, The Land and the Book, New York, i88o, vol. i. p. 20. 


direction of a force or as a mechanical power, is still more 
difficult to follow up. 

The roller is older than the wheel. One day, Mr. Henry 
Elliott came near catching a company of men inventing the 
roller. A crew of Eskimo rowed to a gravelly beach in one 
of their skin canoes. The craft was heavily laden, and they 
had either to get into cold water, to lift all the freight 
ashore and then carry the boat so that the gravels would 
not cut the very thin and delicate sealskin bottom, or they 
had to set their wits to work. As on many another occasion 
the inventive spirit predominated, and they placed a row 
of inflated seal-skin floats in front of the umiak, and rolled 
her high and dry up on the beach by this means. The very 
recent adoption of the pneumatic tire on bicycles and racing 
sulkies, after this explanation may leave the impression that 
Solomon was not altogether wrong when he said, ** There is 
no new thing under the sun." 

Long before the roller was invented, the pole road 
afforded an easy and slippery method of conveyance. Im 
Thurn describes the portage of a boat in the interior of 
Guiana. " We were obliged to carry our boat across the 
portage, which is about a quarter of a mile long, up and 
then down a very considerable hill. Our men laid rollers 
all along the path, then harnessed themselves by a rope 
attached to the bows of the boat, and drew her merrily over 
in a very short time.^^ ' The same method is in vogue in 
all mountainous countries for getting logs down to the level, 
and Robinson Crusoe would not have been compelled to dig 
canals if Daniel Defoe had been a South American Indian. 

The windlass, the capstan, the winch, are modern appli- 
ances to convert time and momentum. The ancient engi- 
neers had rollers and chutes and greased ways. Even in 
savagery they could remove very heavy logs to the seaside, 
and stones weighing hundreds of tons were brought to the 
places where they were to be set up. Co-operation in great 

* Im Thiim, Among the Indians of British Guiana^ London, 1883, 
p. 61. 


labour took the place of invention ; but it must not be 
forgotten that this working together was an invention in 
social order of the highest value. 

The inclined plane is found everywhere in ancient and 
modern engineering. The Pacific Coast Indians, in erecting 
their totem posts, and in laying up great crossbeams, use 
skids, guys, shore poles, and the parbuckle, besides their 
own main strength. In Africa, Corea, and in North- 
western United States, the porters draw their loads up on 
their backs by a strap which also act as a parbuckle.^ 

The lever and the wedge are well-known devices to 
savages. It has been previously mentioned that with 
wedges the California Indians felled trees, the British 
Columbia Indians split out immense planks, the metallur- 
gists broke off masses of ore, and the engineers lifted great 
weights. The wedge was also understood in tightening the 
lashing of haftings, and in working clamps for holding 
objects together. 

** I was interested,'' says Sir Samuel Baker, ** in the 
mechanical contrivance of the Lobore for detaching the 
heavy metal anklets, which, when hammered firmly to- 
gether, appeared to be hopelessly fixed in the absence of a 
file. The man from whose ankle the ring was to be 
detached sat on the ground. A stick of hard, unyielding 
wood was thrust through the ring, and both of its ends 
rested on the ground. A man stood on one end, and a 
stone was placed on the other end of this bottom stick. A 
lever of tough wood rested on the top of this stone as a 
fulcrum, one end passing through the ring. When the 
long arm was pressed down, it opened the jaws of the 
manacle, and released the man's foot.^ 

That system of counting and weighing and measuring, 
which lies at the basis of all tool-using, now demands our 
serious attention. To begin with, the sense of number 
is universal, and is found in a rudimentary state among the 

* Mason, ** Human Beast of Burden," Rep, U. S. N, Museum , fig. 42. 
^ Ismdilia^ New York, 1875, p. 268. 



animals, but they have no notation nor any mechanical 
invention for recording numbers. Most of the tribes of 
men have adopted the quinary notation. But the only 
numerals in use among the Andamanese are those denoting 
"one" and "two," and they have no word to express 
specifically any higher figures, but they indulge in some 
such vague terms as "several," "many," "numerous."' 

Among the North American savages the universal 
method of keeping account ivas by means of tally sticks 


.liowing tally. 

or shells or stones or notches, one for each unit being laid 
away or kept after some fashion. In the United States 
National Museum is an old census of a tribe of Conianches. 
It is simply a collection of bundles of straws, one for meiii 
one for women, and one for children. Besides this example 
are many bundles of gambler's counters, which are simply 
short sticks tied together. One of the most charming 
things Mr. Wallace ever wrote is telling how the rajah of 
Lombok look the census.' 

' Man, Anifamaiuse Ishmders, London, Triibner, iS 
Conanl, "Primitive Kuml)er Systems," Pro;. Am. Aism 
1893, vol. xli. p. 270. 

' Widlacet Malay Archipil.i New York, 1869, chap. : 

A<lv. Sc, Salem, 


Memory-helping devices for numbers, such as notched 
sticks or knotted strings, have a wide distribution. The 
message-sticks of Australia, the rush of the Pelew Islands, 
had their counter parts everywhere. The Maoris, says 
Tregear, used notched pieces of wood for this purpose, 
specially for recording genealogies. In China, the invention 
of memorising by knotted cords is attributed to the 
Emperor Luy-jin. Turner in his account of Nui (Ellice 
Group) says, ** Tying a number of knots on a piece of cord 
was a common way of noting and remembering things 
among the South Sea Islanders." In Hawaii the tax- 
gatherers, although they can neither read nor wTite, keep 
very exact accounts of all the articles of all kinds collected 
from the inhabitants throughout the island. This is done 
by one man ; the register is a line of cordage, distinct 
portions of which are allotted to various districts, which are 
known from one another by knots, loops, and tufts of 
different shapes, sizes, and colours. Each taxpayer has his 
part in this string, and the number of dogs, hogs, pieces of 
sandalwood, &c., he has to furnish is well defined." ' 

In every patent office there is an examiner of instruments 
of precision. The very mention of a standard yard or 
metre, of square feet or acres, of cubic inches or centimetres, 
of delicate balances and platform scales, of gallons or 
bushels, of degrees and their subdivisions, of clocks and 
chronometers and calendars, of pounds, shillings, and pence, 
awakens in the mind a consciousness of the nicety with 
which things are measured or weighed or paid for in our 
times. Only the astronomer, the chemist, the physicist, the 
microscopist, the great banking houses, know to what a 
degree of finesse all of these devices for getting the correct 

* E. Tregear, y. Polynes, Soc,^ 1892, voL i. p. 127, referring to Keats ; 
Fe/ew Is.y pp. 367, 392; Erman, £, Travels , vol. i. p. 492; Goqiictj 
vol. i. p. 161, 212, and vol. iii. p. 322 ; Klemni, CuUur-Geschichte^ vol. i. 
p. 3, and vol. iv. p. 396 ; Charlevoix, vol. vi. p. 151 ; Long, Erep., vol. i. p. 
235 ; Talbot, Disc, of Lederer^ p. 4 ; Humboldt and Bonpland, vol. iii. 
p. 20 ; Marsden, p. 192 ; Tyerman and Bennett, yb/zr/w/, vol. i. p. 455. 

68 The origins ok invention. 

figures have attained. It will be interesting to note how, in 
the earliest industries the places of all these diversified . 

measuring apparatus were filled. The correct metric or \ 

chronometric data within the exigencies of each tribal life 
will give a fair idea of the status of that tribe.' It is well 
known that the history of navigation is almost the history 
of clocks, that speed in trains is allied to red glass and 
signalling, that the accuracy of the cubit is the gauge of the 
quality of ancient architecture, and, in a general way, the 
history of metrology is the history of civilisation. A 
separate book on this subject would be worthy of prepara- 
tion, only the data are so meagre. 

Metric apparatus and instruments of precision include all 
devices covered by what in the school arithmetics is 
denominated *' tables of weights and measures." The 
measuring appliances involved, and their numerical values 
in different ages constitute the science of metrology. This 
alone has had a very interesting elaboration. The lowest 
peoples have their standards of measuring and comparing 
quantity. Out of these have grown the modern processes.^ 

The scale or balance was known in America before 
the Discovery. The Peruvians made beams of bone, 
suspended little nets to each end, supported the beam at the 
middle by means of a cord, and used stones for weights. 
The transition from the balance to the " steelyard " is not 
easy to make out. 

The standards of compound arithmetic were very low 
among the Andamanese. About forty pounds was a man's 
load, and anything above that would simply be more than 

' A photographer, who lived fifteen years among a tribe of savages, told 
the author that the unit of capacity for small quantities was universally the 
double handful. 

* For an elaborate study of the origins of metric standards, the reader 
is urged to consult William Ridge way, 177/^ Origin of Metallic Currency and 
Weight Standard^ Cambridge, 1892, Univ. Press, 418 pp.,8vo; Mound 
Builders^ Cleveland, 1883; McGee, American Antiquarian^ April, 1881, 
reviewing Petrie's Inductive Metrolosy^ commented on by Dr. Brinton, 
op. cit., p. 447. 



a man's load. Size was rated by well-known natural objects, 
seeds, fruits, nuts, &c. Capacity was counted by handfuls, 
basketfuls, bucketfuls, canoefuls. There is no prescribed 
form or dimensions for any object. No tallies were kept 
nor counters, and this is very low down, because all 
American tribes knew the use of tallies. Distance was 
spoken of as a bowshot, or as from there to there, indicating 
the limits. Fifteen miles, about, was a day's journey, and* 
over that was said to " exceed a day's journey." » 

Those ancient manufacturers and builders had no govern- 
ment standards of measuring their work, but referred every- 
thing to their bodies. This system was far more accurate 
among rude peoples, where anthropometric differences 
between the sexes and between individuals were very 
slight. Many witnesses confirm the opinion that every 
weapon, or chunkey pole, had its proportion to the owner. 
Dr. Matthews says that the Navajo pole for the Great 
Hoop Game was twice the span long, and Mr. Dorsey found 
that the Omaha arrow had to measure from the inner 
angle of the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, and 
thence over the back of the hand to the wrist-bone. I have 
examined many hundreds of quivers, and have always 
found the arrows to be of the same length, while those of 
the tribe resemble in general appearance, but vary slightly 
in length for each man. Dr. Dorsey found the Naltunne, 
on Siletz Agency, in Oregon, using the double arms' length, 
the single arm's length, half the span, the cubit, the half 
cubit, the hand length, the hand width, the finger width 
(i, 2, 3, 4, 5), from the tip of the elbow across the body to 
the end of the middle finger of the other hand. In most of 
these cases the starting-point is the meeting of the tips of 
the thumb and index finger.^ 

Among the Aztec or Nahuatl and the Maya, the two 
most cultivated stocks of North American aborigines, 
Brinton finds no words for estimating quantity by gravity, 

^ Cf, Man, Andaman Islanders^ London, 1883, Triibner, p. 116. 
^ Science, New York, 1892, vol. xx. p. 19^. 


no weighing terms. For extension the human body and, 
largely, the hand and the foot furnished standards of 
measuring. Among the Mayas the footstep or print or 
length of the foot was very familiar, and frequently in use 
by artisans, as well as the pace or stride. 

Quite a series of measures were recognised from the 
ground to the upper portions of the body, to the ankle, to 
the upper portion of the calf, to the knee-cap, to the girdle, 
to the ribs or chest, to the mammae, to the neck, to the 
mouth, to the vertex. Other measures were the hand, 
finger-breadths, the span, half around the hand, as in 
measuring for a glove, the cubit, the fathom. Journeys were 
counted by resting-places. 

In Aztec metrology, the fingers appear to have been 
customary measures. The span was not like ours, from the 
extremity of the thumb to the extremity of the little 
finger, nor the Cakchiquel, from the extremity of the thumb 
to that of the middle finger ; but like that now in use 
among the Mayas, from the extremity of the thumb to that 
of the index finger. There were four measures from the 
point of the elbow — to the wrist of the same arm, to the 
wrist of the opposite arm, to the ends of the fingers of the 
same arm, to the ends of the opposite arm, the arms extended 
always at right angles to the body. 

The Aztec arm measures were from the tip of the 
shoulder to the end of the hand ; from the tip of the 
fingers of one hand to those of the other, from the middle 
of the breasts to the end of the fingers. The octocatl or 
" ten foot pole,*' approximately, was the standard of length 
employed in laying out grounds and constructing buildings. 
The road measure of the Aztecs was by the stops of 
the carriers, as in Guatemala. The Aztecs were entirely 
ignorant of balances, scales, or weights. The plumb line 
must have been unknown to the Mexicans also.^ 

* D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist ^ Philadelphia, 1890, pp. 
433 451* This whole paper should be consulted. Charles Whittlesey, 
Metrical Standards of the Mound Builders. 



Federal money and the metric system as applied to 
the mechanism of exchange are modern returns to 
very primitive modes of reckoning values. The basis of 
money is at times a shell, a bead, a robe, a skin. The 
purchasing power of the unit is fixed in each case. And 
among certain tribes there is a table of moneys, such as two 
elk teeth equal one pony, eight ponies equal one wife. 
The principal involved does not seem to be different from 
that of our own standards, namely, to have some rare and 
portable object for standards.* 

The Bongo make iron spade-shaped disks, which repre- 
sent their coined money.' The hoe-and-spade currency is 
widespread in Africa. Crosses of copper, and ingots of native 
iron hammered out from nuggets of iron ore pass for 
currency. Furthermore, to give to these objects the 
further semblance of coinage the manufacturers put a 
certain twist or mark on the object, which is in effect a 
tribal mark, and suggests the coins of the realm. These 
marks are not government stamps, however, and they do 
not raise the objects above the rank of tokens. 

Although the native canoe-builders in the Louisiade Archi- 
pelago work with adzes made of hoop-iron, the payment for 
their work is made in stone axes, ten to fifty of these being 
the price of a canoe. The stone axe is still the accepted 
medium of exchange in large transactions — pigs, for instance, 
and wives are valued in that currency. It is only fair, by 
the way, to mention that the purchase of a wife is stated by 
the natives not to be such in the ordinary sense ; the 
articles paid are, they say, a present to the girVs father. In 
Mowatta, sisters are specially valued, as they can be inter- 
changed with other men's sisters as wives.3 

Almanacks and clocks, how indispensable to all our 
activities ! They were never absent from human traflfic, 

' Stearns, " Ethno-Conchology," Rep, U, S. Nat, Museum, 1887, with 
bibliography; also Gushing, Am. Anthropologist ^ Washington, 1892, vol. v. 
= Schweinfurth, A rtes A/ricanae, "London, 1875, pi. iv. p. 14, 15. 
^ Trotter in Pror. Kov, Grog. Soc, p. 795, Nov., 1892. 


The Andamanese have natural calendars, partly in the sky, 
partly in nature around them. Having no numeration, they 
did not count the moons in a year, but noted the cool 
season, the hot season, the rainy season, in their proper 
order. The year was also divided into twenty minor 
seasons, named for the most part after trees which flowering 
at successive periods, afford the necessary supply to the 
I honey bees. These flowers are used to name the children 
born while they are blooming, and these names, added to 
the prenatal name conferred by the parents, constitute the 
denomination of the person until maturity or marriage. 

The phases of the moon and its connection with the tides 
were both designated by appropriate terms. Of the starry 
host they take little notice, confining their special observa- 
tions to Orion and the Milky Way. 

They knew the four points of the compass, and the pre- 
vailing winds by name, and distinguished certain meteoro- 
logic phenomena. So much for the calendar. 

As to clocks, they had no mechanical device for marking 
time of day, but had thirteen separate expressions for known 
parts of the twenty-four hours. But these were extremely 
vague, and the divisions over-lapped one another. For that 
matter, clocks and watches are extremely modern devices. 

The day^s journey is often mentioned as a fixed distance. 
This is only true within wide limits, and it scarcely ever 
exceeds ten miles for marching. "The Indians, finding 
that their wives were so near as to be within one of their 
ordinary day's work, which seldom exceeded ten or twelve 
miles, determined not to rest till they had joined them.'' ' 

In these journeys the Canada Indian hunters are said to 
stand a stick in the snow and make a mark along the 
shadow as they pass some well-known spot. The women 
and old men coming later note the angle between the 
former and the present position of the shadow, and they are 
thereby enabled to regulate their future speed. 

The Zuni Indians know well that the light of the rising 

* llearne, /o/frfte^', 6^^., Tendon, 1795, Slrahan, p. 185. 


sun falls on the same spot but two days in the year, and 
that at noon the shadow of a pillar lengthens and then 
shortens back to the same spot in the same period. They 
have a pillar dedicated to astronomical observations. On 
many houses in the Pueblo there are scores on the wall 
opposite windows, or loop-holes for the purpose of recording 
the movements of the sun. There are also pillars to be seen 
in other parts of the world which could possibly be dedi- 
cated to the same end, since such a feat is performed by at 
least one tribe. 

" Each morning, just at dawn, the Sun priest, followed by 
the master priest of the Bow, went along the eastern trail 
to the ruined city of Ma-tsa-ki by the river side, where, 
awaited at a distance by his companion, he slowly ap- 
proached a square, open tower, and seated himself just 
inside upon a rude ancient stone chair, and before a pillar 
sculptured with the face of the sun, the sacred hand, the 
morning star, and the new moon. There he awaited with 
prayer and sacred song the rising of the sun. Not many 
such pilgrimages are made ere * the suns look at each 
other,' and the shadows of the solar monolith, the 
monument of Thunder Mountain, and the pillar of the 
gardens of Zuiii lie along the same trail ; then the priest 
blesses, thanks and exhorts his father, while the warrior 
guardian responds as he cuts the last notch in his pine- 
wood calendar, and both hasten back to call from the 
housetops the glad tidings of the return of spring. Nor 
may the Sun priest err in his watch of time's flight ; for 
many are the houses in Zuni with scores on their walls or 
ancient plates embedded therein, while opposite a con- 
venient window or small porthole lets in the light of the 
rising sun, which shines but two mornings of the 365 on 
the same place. Wonderfully reliable are these rude 
systems of orientation, by which the religion, the labours, 
and even the pastimes of the Zuni are regulated." ' 

^ F. H. Gushing, Century Magazine^ quoted in Nature^ London, 1892, 
March 17, p. 464, 


In the Moki village of Wolpi, Arizona, there are means of 
telling noon and midnight. Fewkes says : " When the 
sunlight through the kibva [sacred chamber] entrance fell in 
a certain place on the floor and indicated noon time each of 
the four priestesses made a single haho^ consisting of two 
willow twigs equal in length to the distance from the centre 
of the palm of the hand of the middle finger." Again, " At 
12.15 the head priestess ascended the ladder and minutely 
examined from the roof the position of the stars. She 
looked anxiously for some star in the constellation of Orion 
or the Pleiades, but the stars she sought were hidden by 
a cloud, and she at last decided what she had in mind by 
observing a bright star in the western sky. Then she went 
down the ladder and announced that the time had come for 
the midnight ceremony." ^ 

The ancient Polynesians had thirteen months in their 
year, regulated by the moon, and once in a while dropped 
out a moon. They had separate names for every night in 
the lunation, and twenty-seven separate names for time 
of day during each twenty-four hours.' 

In the long voyages which they undertook about six 
hundred years ago, they made excellent use of the stars 
both for direction and time of day. In another chapter 
some mention will be made of fire as a time measure, 
but the near kindred of these Polynesians anticipated the 
hour-glass by boring a small hole in the bottom of a cocoa- 
nut cup, and placing it in a vessel of water, noting the time 
it took the cup to sink. 

The reader well knows that the primitive folk were good 
meteorologists. That they knew something about natural 
thermometers and barometers and hygrometers may be 
gathered from the story of Gideon's fleece. Mr. Ling Roth 
contributes the following charming bit from the Malay : — 

* Fewkes, ** A Tusayan Dance," Avu Anthropologist, 1892, vol. v. 
pp. 109, 117. For time of day among the Navajo, sec Matthews, 
*' Mountain Chant," Fifth An, Rep. Bur, EthnoL, p. 389. 

" ElHs, Polynes. Res.^ London, 1859, Bohn, vol. i. pp. 86-9. 


" When the natives of Borneo are selecting the site for a 
new village a piece of bamboo is stuck in the ground, filled 
with water and the aperture covered with leaves. A spear 
and a shield are placed beside it, and the whole is surrounded 
by a rail. The latter is to protect the bamboo from being 
upset by wild animals, and the weapons are to warn 
strangers not to touch it. If there is much evaporation by 
the morning the place is considered hot and unhealthy, and 
is abandoned.'' ' 

The evolution of machinery cannot be ignored in this 
connection. A machine in this view is a contrivance for 
changing the direction and the velocity of motion or force. 
It cannot create force any more than a tool can. On the 
contrary, it consumes a vast amount of force in its own 
working. By means of a tool the entire force exerted is 
brought to bear upon the material. The machine, by the 
waste of a portion of the force enables the workman to 
apply his efforts more rapidly, more powerfully, or in ways 
unattainable by hand.^ 

All power at first was hand-power, the machinery of the 
world was moved only by human muscles. In the chapter 
on animals will be treated the gradual enlistment of 
domestic beasts in the service of man. Besides these, 
winds and water currents, vapours and electric currents and 
chemical force have been domesticated for human uses. 
The study of these is essential to a knowledge of industrial 
progress. Muscular power is the basis of all power, just 
as human backs will be shown later to be the basis of the 
carrying trade. 

The Zuni or Nicobar woman's simple potter's wheel, 
which is nothing more than the turning of her vessel 
about in a dish or basket as the work goes on, is only a 
little more rude than the fashion in the interior of China 

^ Ling Roth,y. Anthrop. Inst,^ London, 1892, voL xxii. p. 31. 

- "A machine is a combination of materials arranged by man so as to 
enable determinate motions to be obtained " (Shaw, J. Soc. of Avis, 
London, 1885, vol. xxxiii. p. 395). 



of putting a lump of clay on the top of a revolving shaft, 
which they turn with one hand while the pot is formed 
with the other. 

" The potter^s wheel was known in the world from high 
antiquity. The Egyptian artisan turned the wheel by hand. 
The Hindu potter goes down to the river-side when a flood 
has brought him a deposit of fine clay, when all he has to 
do is to knead a batch of it, stick up his pivot in the 
ground, balance the heavy wooden table on the top, give it 
a spin and set to work.*' ^ 

The spindle with its whorl is a free wheel and axle, with 
the principle of the fly-wheel fully developed, and the 
twister, well known to savages, is a still simpler fly-wheel. 
The Zuni Indians make a block of wood about 8 in. x 3 in. 
X i in. Near one end a hole is made f in. in diameter, and 
the stick is notched just outside this hole. This is the fly 
wheel. A stick with a head cut on it is thrust through the 
hole and serves for handle. One end of the material to be 
twisted is tied to the notch on the fly-wheel, and the other 
end to some fixed object. The twister holds to the handle 
and causes the fly to revolve by the motion of his hand. 

The regular spindle serves for yarn -making, thread - 
making, and twine-making, and the product is wound on 
the shaft, which is twirled in a small vessel, rolled along 
the thigh, or sent spinning in the air, held up by the thread 
caught in a hook on the upper end. Here the operation 
stops, and the writer does not know of any primitive people 
to whom it occurred to fix the two ends of the shaft as 
journals in bearings. The nearest approach to such a 
device is the Eskimo drill ; in which the piece held in the 
mouth furnishes the upper socket, the perforation being 
made the under socket and the bow or strap applying the 
power. The true wheel and axle reverses this process, and 
does its work where the Eskimo applies his force. 

Crank motion applied to the potter's wheel is of very 
recent date. Dr. Smith, long resident in Siam, informed 

' Tylor, Anthi-opoloiQ»t New York, 1881, p. 275. 

WOOLLEN YARN. {Photo ill U.S. Nat. Museum.) 




the writer that the potter first gives an immense impetus to 
a fly-wheel, and then works the clay while the wheel is 
turning. The next progress forward is placing the heavy 
fly-wheel low down where the potter may keep it in motion 
with his toes. " So doth the potter, sitting at his work and 
turning the wheel about with his feet, he fashioneth the 
clay with his arm." ^ 

In polishing the basket lacquer work, the Shans use a 
crude lathe. A bamboo basket is coated with lac or with 
lac mixed with ashes of straw. When the lac is dry, the 
basket is turned on a very simple lathe, the wheel of which 
revolves backwards and forwards, the principle of the crank 
being apparently unknown. The workman uses a treadle, 
which turns the wheel one way, and it is brought back in 
the opposite direction by a long bamboo which acts as 
a spring.^* The reader should compare with* this the ex- 
ceedingly crude Moorish lathe in which the operator works 
a bow drill in one hand and uses his toes to assist the other 
hand to holding the cutting tools. 

*' There are strong grounds," says Shaw, '* for considering 
the fire drill or twirling stick, first revolved between the 
hands of one or two operators, as one of the earliest ex- 
amples of machinal motion, and that a long time must 
have elapsed before the introduction of continuous, instead 
of alternating rotary motion." But Mr. Shaw forgets the 
fly-wheel on the spindle, called usually the whorl. The 
spinning of fibre is as old as the fire sticks. Indeed, it 
would not appear that the fire sticks are among the oldest 
of human devices. Men had fire very long before they knew 
how to create it. 

" It is extremely probable that the first continuous motion 
was employed in connection with the grinding of corn." ^ 

* Ecclus. quoted in Tomson, op, cii, vol. i. p. 34 ; excellent plate, 
p. 35> showing two types of burden-bearing and the fly-wheel turned with 
the foot. 

-' Ernest Salow.y. Soc. Aris, London, 1892, vol. xl. p. 186. 

3 Shaw,y. Soc, Aiis, London, 1885, vol. xxxi. p. 395. 


Shaw arranges corn-grinders as : — (i) Simple stone pounder ; 
(2.) Mortar and pestle, worked (rt') by slaves, (b) by bondsmen, 
c) by cattle ; (3) flat cylindrical stone with vertical spindle. 
But in reality there have been two series, the mortar series 
and the grinding series, the order of which last would be (i) 
rubber and flat nature rock ; (2) metate and muUer ; and 
(3) the rotary mill driven first by hand and after by animals, 
winds, and water. 

The employment of the wind to separate chaff from grain 
is an appliance in primitive agriculture or har vestry. The 
utilisation of the wind in locomotion will be studied in the 
chapter on primitive transportation. The Indians of the 
Plains, who dwelt in skin lodges, understood the use of the 
fly and extra pole on the tent to utilise the wind in creating 
a draught and drawing the smoke out of the dwelling. The 
sail is also used in the Arctic regions to aid in driving the 
sledge over smooth ice. But no savage had any conception 
of a windmill, or invited the air to participate in doing 
mechanical work. 

If I were permitted to coin a word, I should call all 
the combined arts that relate to the getting, preserving, and 
utilising water, hydrotechny ; but that would furnish rather 
a long term for the study of these arts — hydrotechnology — 
though it is not lacking in euphony. The spring, the well, 
the city reservoir, and waterworks ; the open stream, the 
canal, the locomotive ; the tide wheel, the overshot, the 
turbine — all of these indicate progress in hydrotechny as 
related to aliment, to transportation, to irrigation, and to 
manufactures. The world's progress has followed the 
water, and water has never been absent from men's minds. 

No aborigines, unaided by domestic animals, have dis- 
played so much patience and ingenuity in the storage and 
conducting of water as the Indians of the arid region of the 
United States. Throughout the Pueblo region, says Mr. 
Hodge, works of irrigation abound in the valleys and on the 
mountain slopes, especially along the drainage of the Gila 
and the Salado, in Southern Arizona, where the inhabitants 

Tools Ast) mechanical devices. 79 

engaged in agriculture to a vast extent by this means. The 
arable tract of the Salado comprises about 450,000 acres, and 
the ancient inhabitants controlled the watering of at least 
250,000 acres. The outlines of 150 miles of ancient main 
irrigating ditches may be readily traced, some of which 
meander southward a distance of fourteen miles. In one 
place the main canal was found to be a ditch within a ditch, 
the bed being 7 feet deep. The lower section was only 
4 feet wide, but the sides broadened in their ascent to a 
*' bench '' 3 feet wide on each side of the canal. Remains of 
balsas were recovered, showing that the transportation of 
material was also carried on. Remains of flood gates were 
found by Mr. Gushing, and great reservoirs for storage of 
water, one example being 200 feet long and 15 feet in depth.* 

In Mexico and Peru, especially in the latter, this art 
reached its highest perfection. ** Higher up in the Andes 
irrigation was carried out on a far more extensive scale. 
Partly by tunnelling through the solid mountains, partly by 
carrying channels round their sides, the waters of the higher 
valleys, where the supply was abundant, were made avail- 
able for the cultivation of others where it was deficient : and 
in the district between the Central and Western Cordilleras, 
to the northward and westward of Cuzco, such channels were 
extensively constructed to irrigate, not only the valleys, but 
the llama pastures on the mountain sides." ^ 

In the evolution of hydrotechny the curious invention of 
the Bakalahari negroes has a place. The women dig tiny 
wells in the wet sand. They then fasten a bunch of grass 
to the end of a reed and bury it in the pit. By means of 
the reed they suck water into their mouths and discharge it 
into ostrich shells, using as a guide to the stream a stalk of 
grass. When twenty or thirty shells have been filled they 
are placed in a net, carried home and buried in the earth for 
future use.3 

^ F, W. Hcxlge, Jm, AfUhropolcgist^ July, 1893) PP« 323-330. 

** Payne, History of America, Oxford, 1892, p, 380. 

3 Livingstone, Trav,, ^c, in S, Africa^ New York, 1858, p^ 59, ilL 


The wheel and bucket are in common use through the 
eastern continent. For lifting water out of shallow wells or 
sources of supply, a wheel may be used whose diameter is a 
little more than the vertical distance from the water to the 
point of discharge. On the rim of the wheel are buckets 
resembling those in an old-fashioned mill-wheel. The 
apparatus is worked by a draught animal. But, in more 
elaborate specimens of the same sort, the machine is set in a 
running stream, which, working against paddles on the rim, 
revolves the wheel and lifts the water. The Chinese make 
an enormous apparatus of this sort, and fasten bamboo 
buckets diagonally on the outside of the rim. These 
descending are plunged mouth first under the water, and 
ascending retain it until they pass the centre of motion, 
when they discharge into a trough. Thomson speaks of 
enormous wheels at Hums, on the Orontes, the diameter of 
some being 80 or 90 feet.^ 

The na'urah^ or Persian water-wheel, common throughout 
Western Asia, consists of a clumsy cog-wheel, fitted to an 
upright post, and made to revolve horizontally by a beast 
attached to a sweep. This turns a similar one perpendicular 
at the end of a heavy beam, which has a large wide drum 
built into it, directly over the mouth of the well. Over this 
drum revolve two rough hawsers, or thick ropes, made of 
twigs and branches twisted together, and upon them are 
fastened small jars or wooden buckets. One side descends 
as the other rises, carrying the small buckets with them, 
those descending empty, those ascending full. As they pass 
over the top they discharge into a trough. The buckets are 
fastened to the hawsers about 2 feet apart. The hawser is 
made of twigs, generally of myrtle, because it is cheap, easily 
plaited, and its extreme roughness prevents its slipping on 
the drum.^* 

* Thomson J The Land and the Book^ New York, 1880, vol. i. p. 21. 

^ Ibid,^ vol. i. p. 19. An excellent full-page plate represents a camel 
working the luCaurah. The harness is extremely primitive. Compare 
figure vol. iii. p. 8. 


In matters of engineering the starting-point backward is 
itself in a remote past. Watkins, in his "Beginnings of 
Engineering " sayS; ** Of the races to be considered I will 
mention in what seems to me to be their order of import- 
ance, Chaldea, Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Phoenicia, Etruria, 
Palestine, Moab, Persia, India, China, and the Incas. To 
this aggregate every form of engineering was known which 
did not require the application of the generated forces. 
They built canals for transport and irrigation, reservoirs and 
aqueducts, docks, harbours, and lighthouses. They erected 
bridges of wood and stone, as well as suspension bridges ; 
laid out roads, cut tunnels, constructed viaducts, planned 
roofs for their massive buildings ; tested the strength and 
discovered the weakness of their building materials ; insti- 
tuted elaborate systems of drainage ; planned fortifications ; 
designed engines of attack and floating bridges ; devised 
methods for the transport of heavy objects — in fact, covered 
to a greater or less degree all departments of hydraulic, 
bridge and road, sanitary, military, and mechanical en- 
gineering." ' 

Assuredly even these enterprises were the mature results 
of still earlier efforts, which it would be delightful to trace. 
In the earliest engineering feats two facts must be sharply 
kept before the mind, to wit, that time was no object, and 
that there were no private buildings. Suppose that every 
labouring person in London should be immediately with- 
drawn from all private work, and that they all should be 
organised to labour for ten years upon some government 
building as a memorial of the reign of Her Gracious 
Majesty. One million hand labourers would erect a pyra- 
mid containing fifteen thousand milliards of tons of earth, 
and the mechanics would put on the top of it a structure 
larger than all the monuments in Egypt combined. 

The only puzzle the modern student can have is to con- 
ceive how the ancient engineer made and moved his crib- 

' Watkins, ** Beginnings of Engineering," Traus. Am, Soc. Civ. En- 
gineers^ vol. xxiv., No. 5, 1-76, p. 800. 



work. It is within the abiHty of a company of savage 
Indians to hammer down any great stone into any form. It 
is customary for them as a tribe to all engage in the same 
operation in hauling logs, or seines, or boats, or stones. 
The problem is somewhat like that of Archimedes, " Given 
a rope long enough, and a crib- work strong enough," and 
any modern savage people will undertake to set up the 
monuments of Brittany. 

"The usual method of removing the iron open rings 
Avorn on the ankles by the Madi requires a number of men. 
A rope is fastened to each side of the ring, upon which a 
number of men haul in opposite directions until they have 
opened the joint sufficiently to detach the leg." ' In pic- 
tures of Egyptian stoneworkers great companies of men are 
seen hauling together on some heavily-weighted sledge, and 
in Constantinople one may see any number of men from 
eight to twelve carrying a heavy tierce of wine in slings 1 

attached to four parallel bars. 

The Khasi Hill tribes of India still erect megalithic 
monuments. The slabs of sandstone are quarried near 
by where they are to be set up by means of wedges. Some 
of these weigh twenty tons. They are moved on a cradle 
made of strong curved limbs of trees, roughly smoothed and 
rounded, so as to present little surface to friction. In 
dragging and setting up the slabs all the members of a 
community are under an obligation to assist on such an 
occasion, and are not paid for their labour, beyond receiving 
in the evening a little food or liquor at the dwelling of the 
family who sought the aid. ' This is exactly like the " barn- ' 

raisings " familiar to all American farmers. 

" The block " (of stone) " is detached by means of wedges 
introduced into natural fissures and artificially drilled holes. 
Two or three stout logs arc placed under the slab at right | 

angles to its axis and equi-distant. Under these are fastened ' 

four bamboo trunks, two on either side parallel to the axis 

' Sir Samuel W. Baker, Tsmailia, New York, 1875, p. 269. 
^ Austen,/. Anthrop, Inst., London, 1872, vol. i. p. 127. 


of the Stone, and beneath these bamboos series of smaller 
bamboos like the rounds of a ladder. The whole forms a 
gigantic crib-work, or carrying frame. Three or four 
hundred men can unite their efforts thus in picking up the 
whole and carrying it to its destination. In two or three 
hours the stone may be transported a mile. It is set up by 
means of guy ropes and lifting, and planted in a hole pre- 
viously prepared." ' 

A curious fact in engineering is recorded by that most 
careful of observers. Rev. J. O. Dorsey, regarding the 
Omaha tribal circles. He says, " The circle was not made 
by measurement, nor did any one give directions Avhere 
each tent should be placed ; that was left to the women" (§ 9). 
" Though they did not measure the distance each woman 
knew where to pitch her tent." She also knew the proper 
distances apart for safety, on the one hand, or for the con- 
venience of dressing hides on the other (§ ii).^ 

^ A. L. Lewis, Materiaux pour VHist. de V Homme ^ Toulouse, 1876, 
2 S., vol. vii. p. 185, 3 figs., which explain the process well. 

- Dorsey, Third An. Rep, Bur. Ethnol, Washington, 1883, pp. 219, 
220. Parkman speaks of a whole village of fifty tents being set up in 
half an hour. 



'* Quo modo homines ignis usum primum intellexerint non nostnim hoc 
loco dicere, immo hercule nihil certum inveniri potest." — M. H. Morgan, 
Harvard Studies, 

It is scarcely possible to conceive of man without fire. 
Very early in history he discovered the Promethean spark, 
and a train of blessings came with its advent. The light 
and warmth of the sun were let into his cheerless dwelling. 
Forests and jungles, with their poisonous malaria, noxious 
insects, venomous serpents, and ravening beasts, were sub- 
dued or quickly removed. Life was prolonged by the 
cooking of food and by the ability to preserve it for future 
use through drying, smoking, roasting, &c. In one Indian 
house in Guiana there were fires under each hammock as 
well as for cooking, and, in the open, the hunter sleeps 
secure from ravenous beasts so long as his fire is burning. 

In old archaeological sites in Europe, representing the 
remains of the Cave men of the Mousterian epoch in France 
and Belgium, are found flints that have been cracked by fire, 
fragments of charcoal, burnt bones that have been split for 
the marrow. In the low prairie lands of the United States 
the settlers, in digging wells, come upon piles of charred logs. 
The latter are, doubtless, the result of natural causes, but 
the former are the relics of human industries, and belong to 
the earliest history of Europe, whenever that may have been. 

The study of fire in its relation to human invention, and 


toots AND Mechanical devices. 85 

as a tool in doing work, must include many topics, among 
them the following : — 

1. Its natural available sources, from which it could have 
been procured before men learned to create it artificially. 

2. The methods of its artificial creation, together Avith 
such apparatus and appliances as were invented to make it 

3. The preservation and manipulation of fire after it had 
been kindled. 

4. The use of fire in domestic operations, in cooking food, 
preserving food, and in giving warmth. 

^. Illumination. 

6. Fire in doing mechanical work and in the aid of man 
in peace and war. 

7. Fire as a timekeeper. 

8. Fire as an object of worship. 

In the allegorical panel of tile-work designed by Bracquc- 
mond for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and 
presented by the Havilands to the Smithsonian Institution, 
the genius of fire is represented as already subdued by man, 
rising from the centre of the picture, bearing in one hand a 
vase, in the other a freshly-cast bronze image. About him 
are factories and foundries sending forth clouds of smoke 
and steam. Huge trains of freight and passenger cars cross 
the foreground. The scene is laid in daylight, so there is 
no need of artificial illumination. But every typical use of 
fire conceivable in 1876 has been wrought into this bold 

Strangely in contrast with this bustling scene is the time 
spoken of by Sir John Lubbock, when fire had not been 
kindled on this earth. ** In what precise manner,'' he says, 
" Nature communicated this secret to our species, is noAV 
difficult to determine. Even the few lowly tribes of our 
day that were devoid of fire-making apparatus, had found 
at least some way of keeping the sijjodfdering spark alive.'' ' 
However, there were fires and great conflagrations kindled 

* Lubbock, Preh, Times^ New York, 1872, p. 558. 


Avithout the aid of man by lightning stroke, by the smoulder- 
ing furnaces within the earth, by chemical action, and by 
friction of falling rocks and the chafing of limbs and stems 
in the dense forests. Man in his pristine state was witness 
of these, and, following the current of activity in other 
matters, had doubtless learned to dread and rudely to 
worship this element before he subdued it to his use. To 
light his torch or his domestic fire at the hearth of benefi- 
cent nature was his first step in its subjugation, his first 
lesson in its manipulation.' 

The T'lingit family of Indians in South-eastern Alaska 
say that the raven gave them fire. Flying through the 
inky darkness once upon a time he came upon a great 
medicine man, who had the sun and moon and stars and 
the divine spark in a box, which he hid away in his sacred 
chest. To secure this spark it was necessary for the raven 
to incarnate himself into the womb of the old man's 
daughter, and to be born of her. The baby waxed strong, 
much to the delight of the grandparents, and when he 
demanded the contents of the chest to play with that was 
granted. No sooner did the boy open the little box than in 
a twinkling the heavenly bodies sprung into the sky. The 
raven assumed his wonted form, seized the glowing coal in 
his beak, and sped away to the T'lingit home. The preser- 
vation of the fire in the box, and bearing it from tribe to 
tribe, has no allusion to fire-making, but it does preserve the 
reminiscence of the fact that the race had fire long, long 
before the days of the fire stick, that coals were carried 
from house to house, and that tribes lost fire and had to get 
a new coal in the best way they could. 

The traditions of the Polynesian race clearly point to 

* George Goodfellow, of the United States Geological Survey, says that 
many fires were started by falling boulders in the great earthquake in 
Arizona, May, 1887, Pop. Sc. Monthly^ June, 1888. See also " L'Art du 
feu, est'il une caracteristique de Thomme ? " By M. Duncan, Bull, Soc, d* 
Anthrop, de Paris, 2 S., 1870, vol. v. pp. 61-86; 90-114; 141-145, 
discussion by Broca, Ploix, Letourneau, &c. 


three events in the history of fire. First^ was a time when 
the islanders ate everything raw ; in the second place came 
ownership of fire through the earj:hquake god ; and, finally, 
the creation of fire from rubbing two pieces of dry wood 
together, for, said the earthquake god Mafuie, you will find 
the fire in every wood you cut.^ 

On the authority of O. F. Cook, who lived among them, 
the Golas, of West Africa, put out all the fires in a village 
when lightning ignites any substance, and immediately 
kindle new fires therefrom. 

Mr. A. G. Theobald, who lived many years in the jinigles 
of Southern India, assured Mr. W. T. Hornaday that fires 
often occurred in the Animallai forests from the rubbing of 
the bamboo stems in a high wind.^ 

Likewise spontaneous combustion must always have been 
an active agent in the kindling of natural fires. It is not 
improbable that in the innumerable experiments going on 
always, the savage unwittingly brought together the sub- 
stances that ignited. 3 

The reader will find references to the methods of fire- 
making in classical authorities given by M. H. Morgan, with 
mentions of the works of Weiske (1842), Lasaulx (1843), 
Holle (1879), Milchofer (1886), Kuhn (1886), Hough (1890). 
This charming subject has not escaped the serious attention 
of all distinguished writers upon culture-history. When, to 
the aflSrmation that man is the only tool-using animal, it is 
suggested that many animals perform work by means of 
natural objects, as implements, the rejoinder is safe that 
man is the only fire-making animal. 

The work of Dr. Walter Hough in the Department of 

* Turner, Samoa, London, 1884, p. 209. Tregear, Trans, JV. Z, Inst,, 
vol. XX. The Origin of Fire, pp. 369-399. An excellent resume. 

^ Private letter. 

3 Coal veins in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, I am told by Dr. Walter 
Hough, are often ignited by spontaneous combustion of the pyrites de- 
composed by percolating water. Drifts in a coal vein frequently enter on 
a burned-out area, nothing but ashes remaining. 


Ethnology of the. National Museum is especially devoted 
to the methods of savagery in the creation of fire. The 
following classification is based on the presumed order of 
invention : — ' 


1. Simple^ two-stick apparatus — Indians of two Americas, 
Japanese, Veddahs, Australians, Somalis, Kaflftrs, &c. 

2. Four 'part apparatus — Eskimo, some Indian tribes, 
Hindoos, Dyaks. 

3. Weighted drill ^ with spindle whorl — Iroquois, Chukchis. 


Malays, Burmese. 


Polynesians, Australians, Papuans, Americans, Africans. 


1. With pyrites or stone containing iron^ and flint — 
Eskimo and Northern Indians, Fuegians, Prehistoric Europe. 

2. With flint and steel — General. 
V. By Compression of Air. 
Dyaks and Burmese. 

The creation of fire by the friction of sticks is a process 
in the evolution of which may be observed some of the 
nicest co-operations between Nature and human effort. 
There are just three ways in which one stick of wood 
may be rubbed upon another — by moving with the grain, 
commonly called ploughing; by moving across the grain, 
called sawing ; and by twirling. The first-named two 
methods seem to have had arrested development, that is, 
they reached their perfection in rudimentary form, and after 
that were improved no more. Besides, they have been kept 
within very narrow geographic limits. The method by 
ploughing is found among the Indo-Pacific races, including 

^ Walter Hough, Proc. U. S,Nat,Mns., 1888, pp. 181-184 ; Kep, U* S, 
Nat Mils. y 1887-88, pp. 531-587 ; Z^., 1890, pp. 395-409; Am. Anthro- 
folo^isff 1890, vol. iii. pp. 359-371 ; fV/.,vol. vi. pp. 207-210. 


the Australian, the Polynesian, and the Papuan, and spo» 
radically in America. As these three races have done much 
borrowing from one another, it Avould be far from easy to 
say which of the three would be entitled to the patent on 
the fire-plough. There is no special adaptedness in any 
tree or wood peculiar to one of the regions mentioned above, 
so that we might declare that region to be the fire-plough*s 
native home. The case resolves itself into one of racial 
knack and genius. The Polynesians have carried the appa- 
ratus through many degrees of latitude, employ no other 
method, and in many places are still using it. Let us pro- 
visionally give the invention to them. 

From first to last the fire-plough- consists of two parts, 
namely, a stout stick of thoroughly dried hibiscus, three feet 
or more long and two inches in diameter. This forms the 
hearth or stationary part. A smaller stick of the same kind 
of wood, about a foot long, cut at the lower extremity in 
shape of a wedge, with its edge forming a very obtuse angle, 
constitutes the working part or plough. The fire-making 
is accomplished by violently rubbing the end of the plough 
backward and forward on the stationary piece, cutting a 
groove running with the grain of the wood for a distance 
of four or more inches. Instead of rubbing off woodmeal, 
the plough disengages extremely minute ribbons or shavings, 
which the friction succeeds in heating above the point of 
ignition. The groove is not used a second time, and the 
plough receives a fresh trimming after each effort. 

The natives of New Britain, in whom the Papuan element 
greatly predominates, rub a sharpened piece of hard stick 
against the inside of a dried piece of split bamboo. This 
has a natural dust that soon kindles. They use soft wood 
when no bamboo can be procured, but it takes longer to 
ignite. The flame is fed with grass. ^ 

In Samoa the blunt-pointed stick is taken between the 
clasped hands and shoved along the groove at an angle 
of forty to forty-five degrees, slowly at first, with a range 

* W. Powell, IVandcrin^Sy 6^r., p. 206. 


of six inches, till the wood begins to be ground off and 
collects in a heap at the end of the groove. The speed is 
then accelerated until the brown dust ignites.' The Austra- 
lian process and apparatus are evidently under foreign 
influence, existing only in circumscribed areas. They rub a 
knife of wood along a groove made in another stick previously 
filled with tinder.2 

The Hawaiians obtained fire by the plough. A small 
stick, the aulimd^ is held in the hands and rubbed in a 
groove in a larger stick aunaki. The aiilimd is of some 
hard wood, while the aunaki is of hau or some soft wood. 
In five seconds the rubbed wood is charred, and in about a 
minute the dust which collects at the bottom of the groove 
ignites, and the flame is caught in a bit of tinder, or a fuse 
composed of twisted kapa or cotton cloth. 3 

Fire-making by tranverse friction is a Malay device. It is 
true that Malays use all other methods, and the saw may be 
found elsewhere, as in both India and Further India ; but 
to the Malay the fire-saw belongs. Again, it is safe to assert 
that the saw belongs to a bamboo area. It is true there are 
bamboos where there are no fire-saws, but fire-saws do not 
work well where there are no bamboos. *' For this method 
two pieces of bamboo are used, a sharp-edged piece like a 
knife is rubbed across a convex section in which a notch is cut, 
nearly severing the bamboo. After sawing across for awhile 
the bamboo is pierced, and the heated particles fall below 
and ignite." 4 

Eliminating the ploughing and the sawing method, we are 
brought to the method by twirling. Now, this may not 
have antedated the other processes in time, but it has had a 
more interesting history. 

* W. Hough, ••Fire-making Apparatus," U^ S. Nat. Mus. Rep., i888, 
p. 520. 

' R. Brough Smith, Aborig. of Victoria. Quoted by Hough, tit stipra^ 
p. 571. 

3 Brigham, Cat, Bishop Mus.^ Honolulu, 1892, vol. ii. p. 31. 

•* Wallace, Malay Archipelago^ p. 332. Quoted in Hough. 



The simplest possible device for this operation is a rod of 
dry wood, and a partly decayed and very dry lower piece. 
The rod is the vertical, moving element, the soft piece is the 
horizontal, stationary element ; the former is twirled in some 
fashion, the latter remains on the ground and is held firm 
by means of the foot or the knee. Mr. Hough enumerates 
the tribes that use this method.' 

The vertical spindle and the horizontal hearth or socketed 
piece, with its side notches for the escape of the wood meal 
in which the fire first appears, 
being the starting-point, the 
next thing Avas to make some 
additions to the manual part 
in order to shorten time, to 
decrease effort, and to render 
more certain the result. The 
bottom piece seems to have 
been improved by the Eskimo 
by making it broader and 
cutting a step or wide rabbet 
along one border. The wood 
meal and fire could then fall 
on this extended part. In 
snowy countries the hori- 
zontal step with the hearth ^'^^' i3.-The simplest form of l-k^^ 

drill. {After Hough.) 

attachment was a decided mi- 

provement. Another trick of the ingenious Eskimo was 
to make his sockets along the middle of a tolerably broad 
piece and then to cut his notches for draught and the escape 
of the woodmeal along the median line of the stick instead 
of outward. Living on the ice where there was little wood 
to be had, this also was just the thing to do. 

The spindle or vertical piece could be improved in several 
ways. The writer has often seen Mr. Hough making fire 
with the common fire-stick, and learned that it is necessary 
to keep the border of the lower edge of the vertical whittled 

' Fire-making Devices, &c., Rep. U. S. Nat, Mus.^ 1 888, pp. 531-587. 


away to prevent binding. This border simply polishes a ring 
about the fire-socket. To improve the spindle further, some 
sort of string or strap could be wrapped about it once or twice 
and pulled backward and forward as rapidly as possible. If a 
bowstring be used, similar to that of the jeweller, and a 
socketed rest be held on the top of the vertical shaft after it 
has beeji whittled to a point, then one man can still operate 
the combination and get a speedy result. If the reader will 
look at a collection of Eskimo men's tools in any museum 
he will see often a cavity about one quarter of an inch in dia- 
meter and one-tenth inch deep somewhere along the middle 
of the handle. This is to convert the knife grip, bow 
stretcher, or other tool, into a top rest for the drill, either 
the fire-drill or the perforator. A still further complication 
of this same pattern requires the co-operation of two persons. 
Instead of the bow to operate the string, one holds the rest 
at the top, and the hearth or horizontal, while the other 
pulls the string backward and forward with his two hands. 
In other words, one of them furnishes the bearings of the 
drill, while the other furnishes the power.' 

Among the Indians of the South-west the pump-drill is 
very common for boring, and, at least among the Iroquois, 
this form of fire-drill is reported. The parts of this apparatus 
are the vertical shaft, the fly-wheel or spindle- whorl, the 
hand-piece by the up-and-down motion of which the drill is 
worked, and the string. The hand-piece, or grip, is a stick 
held in the hand and attached at its extremities to the cord 
or string, which also passes over a notch in the top of the 
spindle. In the best forms this hand-piece is perforated, and 
the shaft passes through it loosely. In the ruder forms the 
hand-piece simply rests against the spindle. The apparatus 
is put in motion by twisting the string once or twice about 
the shaft and kept in operation by moving the hand up and 
down. The sacred Hindu fire-drill is on the plan of the 
two-handed cord drill, and is, in fact, the climax of this sort 

' Murdoch, Ninth An, Rep, Bur. EthnoL^ Washington, 1892, pp. 289- 
291, fig. 282. 


ir. S. Nat. Mu^n.m. Aftir Hmis':) 


of fire-making. And this leads us backward to classic times, 
when this was one of the methods of exciting new fire, the 
other being the striking together, of two pieces of pyrites, or 
of pyrites and flint, the striking of flint and steel, and the 
use of a lens or concave mirror. The flint and steel and the 
mirror are both too recent for our investigation. It is 
an interesting thought in this connection that in many of 
the celebrated experiments to demonstrate the correlation of 
physical forces, the apparatus employed to generate the heat 
was a spindle Avorking in a horizontal socket. 

In addition to the descriptions given by Dr. Hough, Mr. 
im Thurn enters very minutely into the process among the 
Indians of Guiana. Two long slender sticks of the woods 
mentioned, when thoroughly dried, are used in the opera- 
tion. A small pit is dug on the side of one of these sticks 
close to one end and a groove is cut from this pit half-way 
round the stick. One end of the second stick having been cut 
off* square a few inches at the same end are peeled. A knife 
or flat piece of wood or stone is now placed on the ground. 
Across this the first stick is laid so that the pit is uppermost 
and immediately over the blade of the knife. The Indian 
then grasps this stick with the toes of one foot and holds it 
in position. The second stick is held at right angles to the 
first, the peeled end being in the pit, the other end between 
the palms of the operator's hands. The left being held 
motionless, the right palm is rubbed steadily and somewhat 
rapidly backwards and forwards against the left. The 
friction wears away the sides of the pit and enlarges it. 
The groove becomes an open channel through which the 
dust-like fragments worn away from the inside of the pit fall 
on to the knife or board below, Avhere they form a small 
heap. After a quarter of a minute, smoke arises ; and at the 
end of half a minute the heat within the pit, acting through 
the open channel, ignites the little heap of dust. The fire, 
once ignited, smoulders for about half a minute, during 
which time it is easily blown into a flame.^ 

' Im Thurn, Indians of British Guiana ^ London, 1883, P* 257 ; ex- 
cellent figure, 17. 


Two straight pieces of boughs thirty centimetres long, 
and of the thickness of a lead-pencil, serve most negro tribes 
for the generation of the spark by means of friction. The 
Bongo generally carry the sticks in the quiver. Into the 
end of one stick a score is cot, in which the other piece is 
vertically inserted. By means of friction the upper piece is 
made to twirl around between the palms of the hands, while 
the lower piece is held tight with the foot. A hard support 
(a smooth spear-head an- 
swers the purpose best) 
must be always provided. 
A small heap of glimmer- 
ing wood-dust is the result 
after the brief manipula 
tion ; tinder and stra i 
effect the rest 

If flint and steel are a 
comparatively modern m 
vention owing to the late 
appearance of the latttr 
this method of creatmg 
fire had an a cestor that 
may be older than any fire 
sticks. This progen tor 
was flint and pyntes, or 
two pieces of pyrites, the 
latter mineral derivinj 
name from its striking 
fire. A very complete strike-a-hght sent from Cape 
Bathurst consists of flint, pyrites, and tinder done up in 
dainty little bags, with leather pad to guard the fingers from 
injury. The Eskimo, from Smith Sound to Behring Strail, 
used this method. Evans points also to Fuegia and the 
European archaeological sites for the antiquity of this 

' Schwcinfurlh, Aries Afriranac, London, 1875 ; S. Low, p]. iv. tig. 16. 

' See the pyrites and steel in Hough, Rep. U. S. Nat. Mmetim, 1888. 

15. — Striking lire with 
of pyrileii. Central Eskioi 


** Skipertogan is a small bag that contains a flint and steel, 
also a pipe and tobacco, as well as touchwood, &c., for 
making a fire. Some of these bags may be called truly 
elegant ; being richly ornamented with beads, porcupine- 
quills, moose-hair, &c., a work always performed by the 
women ; and they are, with much propriety, greatly 
esteemed by most Europeans for the neatness of their work- 
manship." ^ 

Hearne relates an interesting episode of a Dog Rib 
Indian woman who had passed seven months without seeing 
a human face and had supported herself meanwhile. " Her 
method of making a fire was equally singular and curious, 
having no other material for that purpose than two hard 
sulphurous stones. These by hard friction and long knock- 
ing produced a few sparks, which at length she communi- 
cated to some touchwood. She did not suffer her fire to 
go out all winter. Hence we may conclude that she had 
no idea of producing fire by friction in the manner practised 
by the Eskimo.^' ^ 

To light the fire, the Campas of Peru use the flint and 
steel and a sort of tinder that they make themselves from a 
spongy wood and a bit of impure copal, which in the form 
of a grayish mass and small density, is found at the foot 
of the resinous trees and is very inflammable.3 

In every tribe of savages that have fire, those who are 
charged with its management have learned to promote the 
flame by supplying fresh air. At the critical moment when 
the smoke bursts from the wood-meal at the bottom of the 
fire drill, the fire-maker knows that he does not dare to 
blow upon the spark with his breath, for fear of scattering 
the dust. He simply waves his hand back and forth in front 

pp. 571-577 r with excellent figures. Also Murdoch, Ninth An, Rep, 
Bur. Ethnol., p. 291. 

* Hearne, Journey ^ &^c.t London, 1795 > Strahan, p. 48. See also 
Harris, Voyages^ vol. i. p. 816, fol. ; New England Canaan, p. 23. 

- Hearne, yi7«;7/^j, <Sr*r., London, 1795 > Strahan, p. 261. 

3 Ollivier Ordinaire, Rev. cP Ethnog.^ 1887, vol. vi. p. 271. 


of the tiny hearth with sufficient rapidity to clear the smoke 
away as it rises. When he appHes his spunk or torch of 
shredded bark or kindling material to the Promethean 
spark he keeps up the motion of his hand until the fire 
has well set in the kindling. Then only can he trust 
his breath or dare to whirl his material around his head. 
Of the three processes involved in the act the hand is the 
ancestor of all fans and blowers ; the mouth easily sug- 
gested the bellows, great and small ; and the whirling dead- 
wood or torch was the first attempt to compel the wind to 
blow our fires. In this example, however, Mahomet goes 
to the mountain. 

The people who weave or make basketry have no trouble 
to manufacture fans. Indeed, the hunting tribes of North 
America used the large birds' wings, not to keep the hearth 
tidy as our grandmothers did, but to encourage the fire. 
In tropical countries palm-leaf fans are used quite as much 
in coaxing the flame as in cooling the face. Indeed, im 
Thurn tells us that the women who cook the cassava in 
Guiana smooth the upper surface of the cakes on the griddle 
with the same fan that urges the fire along. ^ 

From the hand to the fan and from the fan to the blower 
is only a march of two steps, to say the least. The fire 
maker, the fire nurse, and the locomotive engineer or 
mining ventilator, are grandfather, father, and son. 

The labial tube, supplemented by the nasal openings, 
enabled the savage fireman, or firewoman rather, to excite 
the live coal into a flame. Further along it occurred to the 
pyrotechnician to move the eyes a little from the blinding 
smudge by means of a tube of cane or something like it, 
and the Japanese cooks at least keep up the practice. This 
method also allows the air to be more effectually driven to 
the very spot where it is wanted. This tube or mouth- 
piece will also be the nozzle of the coming bellows. It is 
difficult to imagine just how the inventor of long ago first 
attached an artificial buccal cavity to this tube and thus 

' Indians of British Guiatta, London, 18S3, p. 262. 



perfected his apparatus. Doubtless one bag sufficed at first 
and he did not get quite as far as the continuous current all 
at once. The African blacksmith represents a later patent. 
His boy sits on the ground between two goat skins, the 
necks of which are securely attached to the ends of reeds. 
The other ends are fixed like the mouths of mail sacks or 
travelling bags, and the boy has his thumb and fingers 
attached to the flat pieces of wood along the borders. The 
tubes at the lower ends of the skins connect with a main 
reed or pipe under the fire. When all is ready the boy 
opens one hand wide and raises it as high as the skin will 
permit, then closes the hand tight and presses down, holding 
the other hand closed and down meanwhile. When the 
first hand is nearly down, the second is deftly caught up to 
repeat the process. With a little song and much style the 
boy manages to get considerable fun out of the exercise. 
The valve in the bellows is too far along for our study, and 
as for compound blowpipes and other appliances for forcing 
air in large or small quantities through a tube, they are 
only modern variations of quite ancient devices. 

In the matter of draught, the tall chimney is absent from 
all ancient cities. The savage built his fire in the middle of his 
hut just as our English ancestors made theirs in their halls, 
only, if you will look carefully at the picture of a wigwam, 
you will see that two poles are longer than the rest and 
each one of them is attached to a fly of hide, which enables 
the inmates to place a barrier against the wind, and create 
such a draught as to suck the smoke out of the tent. The 
Roman baths, perhaps, and the Oriental kangs teach us how 
a closed tube first conducted the smoke away. But savages 
had their appliances as well. 

Every step in the process of inventing the chimney may 
be seen in the Pueblo region of the United States. Imagine 
a room built up of stone spalls and adobe, with ceiling of 
stout poles and brush and mud. A low rectangular opening 
is the door to this kennel, and in one corner of the roof a 
hole allows the smoke from the fire on the floor beneath to 


ascend. This is the first lesson. Now these people are 
great potters, and a long time ago some one discovered that 
a water jar whose bottom had been worn out or broken 
through would do excellent work in urging the smoke out 
of the hole in the roof. Nay more, the good women also 
found out that two, three, four, are better than one, and 
piled them up and stopped the chinks with mud and 
smoothed up the inside. There were thus tile chimney- 
pots in America before there were any in London. 

Quite as ingenious has been the evolution of the smoke- 
stack and the chimney-jamb inside the rooms, crawling 
down the wail over the fire. It only needs the brass 
andirons to complete the metamorphosis.' 

Though William the Conqueror introduced the curfew 
bell into England, the practice of preserving fire by covering 
it up with ashes is much older than his time. Indeed, Dame 
Nature, long before there were any housewives, piled ashes 
over lava streams and kept the fire for indefinite periods. 
Dr. M. H. Morgan * has collected references from Homer, 
Ovid, Virgil, and other classic authors mentioning the 
practice of covering fire, and also the rights of hospitality in 
this regard. But they were moderns compared with the 
antiquity of the practice, as can be shown.3 

The diligent search through the round of preservative 
substances for the best in this department of labour is in a 
line with the whole body of aboriginal activities. About a 
hundred years ago Hearne made some acute observations on 
this matter in North-western Canada. " Westward to procure 
birch-rind for making two canoes and some of the fungus 
that grows on the outside of the birch-tree, which is used by 
all the Indians in those parts for tinder. There are two 

^ Victor Mindeleff, Tenth An. Rep, Bur, EthnoLi pp. 162-67, %s. 
51-74, relating to chimneys. The whole work must be studied for the 
history of Pueblo architecture. 

^ Harvard Studies in Class. Philol.y Boston, 1890, Ginn, vol. i. p. 16. 

3 See also Planck, Die Feuerzeuge der Griechen und Homer ^ &c. , Stutt- 
gart, 1884. 


sorts of these funguses which grow on the birch-trees ; one 
is hard, the useful part of which much resembles rhubarb ; 
the other is soft and smooth like velvet on the outside, and 
when laid on hot ashes for some time and well beaten 
between two stones is somewhat like spunk. The former 
is called by the northern Indians joli-thee^ and is known all 
over the country bordering Hudson Bay by the name of 
Pesogan^ it being so called by the southern Indians. The 
latter is used only by the northern tribes, and is called by 
them Clalte-ad-dee. The Indians, both northern and 
southern, have found by experience that by boiling the 
pesogan in water the texture is so improved, that when 
thoroughly dried, some part of it will be nearly as soft as 
sponge. Some of these funguses are as large as a man's 
head ; the outside, which is very hard and black and 
much indented with deep cracks, being of no use, is 
always chopped off with a hatchet. Besides the two 
sorts of touchwood already mentioned, there is another 
kind of it in those parts that I think is infinitely superior 
to either. This is found in old decayed poplars, and 
lies in flakes of various sizes and thicknesses, some is 
not thicker than chamois leather. It is rather surprising 
that the Indians, whose mode of life I have just been 
describing, have never acquired the method of making fire 
by friction, like the Esquimaux." ' 

** With the decayed or thoroughly dry trees the Indians 
always k^pt up their annual holy fire ; and they reckon it 
unlawful and productive of many temporal evils to extin- 
guish even the culinary fire with water. In the time of a 
storm, when I have done it, the kindly women were in pain 
for me, through fear of the ill consequence attending so 
criminal an act. I never saw them to damp the fire, only 
when they hung up a brand in the appointed place as a 
threatening symbol of torture with death or when their 
kinsman dies. In the last case, a father or brother of the 
deceased takes a fire-brand, and, brandishing it two or 

. * HearnQy /ourney, <Sr*i*., London, 1795, Strahan, p. 278* 


three times round his head, with his right hand dips it 
into the water and lets it sink down." ' The Eskimos 
keep a blubber lamp burning the year round. 

The Andamanese, and perhaps some other very uncul- 
tured peoples, know not the art of kindling fire at all. 
They do not seem to have any traditions on the subject like 
the Promethean myth, but hold that their people have had 
fire from the Creation. Whether they procured their first 
supply from volcanoes, still active on one of their islands, or 
from forest fires, the Andamanese can teach us a lesson in its 
preservation. From E. H. Man we learn that when they 
all leave an encampment with the intention of returning in 
a few days, besides taking with them one or more smoulder- 
ing logs, >vrapped in leaves, if the weather be wet, they place 
a large burning log or faggot in some sheltered spot, where 
owing to the character of the wood invariably selected on 
these occasions, it smoulders for several days, and can be 
easily rekindled when required. Decayed pieces of the Croton 
argyraius^ and two species of Diospyros (bastard ebony or 
marble- wood), and a fourth, called by them chor^ are chiefly 
used as fuel. All labour of splitting and chopping is saved, 
and it is only necessary to beat a log of this description on 
a stone or other hard substance a few times before it breaks. 
In each hut that is occupied there is invariably a fire, the 
object of which is to keep the owner warm, to drive away 
insects, and to cook food ; while the smoke is useful in pre- 
serving the stores of provisions, which are placed above it. 
Fires are generally kindled by fanning the embers with a 
frond of the Asplenium nidus^ and they are extinguished by 
pressing the burning logs against some such object as a tree, 
or stone. If more than a few hours^ absence from home is 
anticipated, besides a supply of provisions, a smouldering 
log is entrusted to some one member of the party, whose 
duty it is to kindle it into a blaze whenever a fire is required.^ 

Among the Taveta, East Africa, the fires are not allowed 

* Adair, American Indians^ p. 405. 

' Man, Andaman Islanders, London, 1883, Triibner, pp. 82, 137. 


to go out in the village. When a family fire goes out, it is 
rekindled by getting a blazing faggot from a neighbour. In 
the history of the tribe they had always preserved the fire. 
They use fire-sticks and flint, and procure tinder from the 
Mahwale tribe.' 

In the course of time these spunk knots and smouldering 
logs became joss-sticks in China, and all sorts of fuses and 
slow matches in western nations. 

For the handling of fire-brands the naked hand sufficed, 
as it does with most of our backwoodsmen. But among 
eastern savages tongs are employed in lifting the hot stones 
used in cooking. These are generally a long strip of bamboo 
bent in the middle so as to bring the ends together as in a 
pair of tweezers. The art of stone-boiling was well known 
among the North American savages, and always they sup- 
plied themselves with tongs, either by bending a pliable 
stick or splitting a larger one half way its length. These 
rude appliances, and a stick for stirring the fire, supple- 
mented with a skewer for moving the food, include the 
outfit of the ancient cook. 

Just how it first occurred to the primitive folk that 
cooked meat would last longer and digest more quickly than 
raw meat is unknown. The ever-ready guesser will say that 
a lucky accident was the teacher. But lucky accidents give 
no lessons to those who are not already alert. The only 
truth that can be arrived at is in the study of the cookery 
of modern savages. 

The most abject peoples on the earth cook their food. 
The only exceptions at all worthy of mention are the Eskimo, 
** who," says Collinson, *' seldom cook their food, the frost 
acting as a substitute for fire." ^ Any one who has eaten 
freshly-killed beef and a slice of beef after hanging a month 
in a freezing atmosphere, will take sides with the Eskimo. 

* French-Sheldon, y. Anthrop. Inst.^ 1892, vol. xxi. p. 370. 

- Collinson, "H.M.S. Enterprise, &c.," /. Roy, Soc.^ London, 1855, 
vol. XXV. p. 201. According to Murdoch, the Eskimo prefer cooked 
food, and never eat raw meat unless compelled. 


Surely, there can be no bacteria in that climate. Provisions 
keep for millenniums, for that matter, and raw meat there 
is tenderer than cooked meat here. 

The rudest savages that have come to a knowledge of fire, 
before they apply this element to vessels of any kind, depend 
upon roasting or baking alone. If we are to credit the 
assertion of a cursory visitor, " the Australians never take 
trouble to cook their food, but merely tear off the exterior 
skin of the animal, and, after holding the body over the fire 
for a few minutes, eagerly devour it in its uncleaned state, 
and frequently eat so voraciously as to be in a condition of 
inactivity and torpor for several hours afterwards." ^ The 
same is true everywhere. The order seems to be, roasting 
or parching whole, roasting after preparation or in ovens, 
boiling by means of stones, boiling in pots, the use of stoves 
of some kind. 

The Polynesians were aboriginally most delightful cooks and 
lived in blissful ignorance of the frying-pan. A pit small or 
large was dug, and heated stones put in the bottom. Upon 
'these was carefully spread a layer of leaves and a layer of 
bread-fruit, properly dressed, and more leaves and more hot 
stones, and then earth and leaves. In half an hour the 
operation was finished and the food cooked to a turn. 
There are many now living in the States who remember 
the days of " roasting ears," when green maize was similarly 
baked in the ear and husk, a custom doubtless borrowed 
from the aboriginal cooks. The Polynesians frequently 
prepared a communal oven. A pit twenty or thirty feet 
in circumference was dug out, the bottom filled with stones, 
logs of firewood piled on them, and stones on the top of the 
wood, as in an open-air lime-kiln. The wood was then burned 
and the hot stones on top raked to the sides of the pit. 
Hundreds of ripe breadfruit were piled in the centre of the 
pit, leaves spread over them, hot stones piled on top like an 
arched oven, and a foot or more of earth piled on that. In 
a day or two a hole might be made in the side and the 

^ P. H. Eagle, Ride Across the Frofttier of Victoria ; also Brough Smith. 


owners draw out the food until it was all consumed. The 
fruit would remain good for several weeks after the oven 
was opened.^ 

The Polynesians had no pottery or potstone ware, but 
they had a custom of putting " a quantity of arrowroot 
powder with the expressed milk from the kernel of the 
cocoanut into a large wooden tray or dish, and having 
mixed them well together, they threw in a number of red- 
hot stones, which being moved about by their white sticks, 
heated the whole mass nearly to boiling, and occasioned it 
to assume a thick, broken -jellied appearance." * 

The Andamanese, having pottery, may cook in a variety 
of ways. Food, in its skin or shell, may be roasted whole 
in, or on, or over an open fire, that is baked like an ash cake, 
seared or spitted and roasted. It may be carefully wrapped 
in leaves and cooked among burning logs or in the midst 
of hot stones. Finally, there is no end to the ways in 
which the earthen pot and the food may become acquainted. 
The result of this variety is that these savages never eat 
half-cooked food. They have invented a method of pre- 
serving food through cooking so ingenious that it is worth 
describing here. Having procured and cleaned a length of 
bamboo, they heat it over a fire that the juices contained in 
it may be gradually absorbed. When this is satisfactorily 
accomplished, half-cooked pieces of pork, turtle, or any 
other food, are packed tightly into it, and the vessel is again 
by degrees put over the fire, in order to heat it slowly, lest 
the rapid expansion of the meat should cause a crack. 
When steam issues forth, the bamboo is taken off the fire, 
and after the opening has been closed by leaves, is set aside 
with its contents until a meal is required, when it is replaced 
on a fire, for it is a peculiarity of these savages to eat this 
food in an almost boiling state. As soon as the meat has 
been once more thoroughly baked, the bamboo is split with 
an adze, or other implement, and all take a share in the 

^ Ellis, Pofyfies, Res., London, 1859, vol. i. p. 40. 
^ Ibid., Bohn, vol. i. p. 49. 


feast. Meat thus prepared will keep good for several 

The Campas of Peru roast, smoke, and boil. They use 
salt, of which the Lorenzos are ignorant. When they cannot 
consume by night all the game that they have taken during 
the day they smoke it by hanging it above the fire.' 

Smoke as a preservative of food is a very early inven- 
tion. No sight is more common in a savage hut than that 
of a frame suspended over the fire in the centre of the cabin 
for holding fish or meat to be dried out and smoked for 
future use. It will be readily seen that this was a potent 
factor in the increase of longevity, not only securing pro- 
visions for time of famine, but eliminating a portion of the 
noxious creatures that prey on subsistence and shorten life. 
On every American farm and plantation might be seen a 
few years ago a building called the ** smoke house." Here 
were hung hams and shoulders and sides of hog's flesh to 
be stored and occasionally smoked to keep off the flies. 

The Indians of the Plains and other parts of temperate 
America had learned also that fat is a preserver of fresh 
meat. Just as the country housewife nowadays keeps her 
sausages fresh indefinitely through the winter by boiling 
them to kill the germs, packing them in stone jars and 
pouring melted fat over them, the Indian dried his buffalo 
meat, ground it to meal by pounding, packed it away in 
skins and poured over the mass melted buffalo tallow or 
bears' grease. The germ theory of decay was totally un- 
known, but the power of heat and hot fat to preserve flesh 
were quite well understood. 

Before Benjamin Franklin invented stoves, the whole 
world, from the beginning of time, warmed itself at the open 
fire. The Eskimo used his lamp for drying clothes and 
heating his igloo quite as much as he did for illumination. 
The West Coast people of America, who dwelt in communal 
houses, arranged their clans about a central fire, whose 

* Man, Andaman Islanders^ London, 1883, Trlibner, sub voce, Food. 
^ Ollivier Ordinarie, I^ev, d'Ethnog., 1887, vol. vi. p. 271. 


smoke enfolded them in a common misery before it escaped 
through the openings of the roof. The Algonkian tribes, 
the Iroquois, the various stocks along the slopes of the 
Rocky Mountains, not only ate the food from a common pot 
in gentile groups, but warmed their bodies in consanguine 
groups. The proverbial fireside was one of social im- 
portance. Around it the clans ate, and warmed themselves, 
and slept, and wrought and told their legends. The fireside, 
as a place of common gathering and genial friendship, lies 
at the bottom of more refined ideas to be especially 

Indeed, two absolutely different sets of inventions spring 
forth from this humble differentiation of ideas. The cook- 
ing-stove and the parlour-stove, the range and the heating 
apparatus, both started out from piles of smouldering 
embers in ancient smoky wigwams, and both grew up to 
their modern stature under the influence of great pre- 
dominating needs. Hunger and cold created two kinds of 
stoves, the former dwelling in the kitchen, the other in the 
drawing-room, the office, the shop, the assembly-room, as of 

The latter has limitations of climate, the former has no 
limitations, for ** hunger has no ears." The former has 
exi/^ed always. There have ever been kitchens of some 
kind. The latter, prior to the nineteenth century, got little 
further than the charcoal brazier, which is really a refined 
but dangerous substitute for the wigwam fires of the Sioux 
Indians or the wooden lamps in the Korak^s polog. One 
can scarcely realise the savage discomforts for artificial 
warmth amidst which even kings and nobility dwelt in not 
remote times. The Orientals resorted to their ovens when 
they could no longer endure the cold ; but Europe was not 
acquainted with the kang. 

The next use of fire among savages to which attention is 
called is for the purpose of illumination. In the most 
primitive society men do not like to be left wholly in the 
dark, so the natives of Middle America imprison the fireflies 


and compel them to illuminate their rude habitations. The 
Eskimo during the long and dreary winter light up their 
subterranean homes with lamps of soapstone, having wicks 
made of moss resting in a mass of fat. 

The Indians of British Columbia and Oregon coast used 
the candle-fish for their primitive torch. The creature 
contains so much fat that it will burn with a wick of cedar 
bark drawn though it. 

The aborigines of Eastern United States, as well as the 
first settlers, made use of the fat pine-knot. It is common 
to read of the students of those days conning their lessons 
by this smoky, primeval light. The burning of natural 
objects, in short, is the most primitive and simple fashion 
of illumination. The searching out of the most valuable 
substances in each area constituted the development of 
invention along this line. 

From these simple expedients to the electric light the 
investigation lies along an interesting path, growing brighter 
and brighter, on which shines first the torch and the signal 
fire, then the open lamp, then the closed lamp, then the 
rushlight and the candle, all of them fed on vegetable and 
animal fats. Later, camphene lamps, olefiant gas, petroleum 
products, and, last of all, the electric light, bring the night 
nearer and nearer to the brilliancy of the day. 

For artificial light the Hawaiians burned the kernels of 
roasted kukui nuts strung on slender strips of palm or 
bamboo. As the nuts burned, the remains were knocked off 
as soon as the next nut was ignited. The oil was also 
expressed from the nut and burned with a wick in stone 
cups. Animal fat was used as well for this purpose, and for 
a wick a dried rush or a fuse of kapa was suitable.' 

"We procured cocoanut oil, and when it grew dark, 
breaking a cocoanut in two, took one end, and winding a 
little cotton-wool round the thin stalk of the leaflet of the 
tree, fixed it erect in the kernel of the nut. This we filled 

* Brigham, Catalogue Bishop Museum^ Honolulu, 1892, vol. ii. 
P- 35- 


with oil, and thus our lamp, excepting the small piece of 
cotton wick, was the product of the cocoanut tree." * 

Torches, made by women, of resin wrapped in a large 
\Q2Li (Crmum lorifolium)^ is used by the Andamanese when 
fishing, or travelling, or dancing by night.^ 

The damar resin is made into long torches throughout 
the Malay area and wrapped in splints of bamboo. A 
deliciously-scented white resin exudes from the hyawa 
tree ijria heptaphylld) in British Guiana. The rough 
masses of this, which are very inflammable, are often 
collected and stored by the Indians for the purpose of 
lighting fires. Sometimes it is broken up into small pieces 
which are put into hollow sticks to be used as torches. 

As a servant, the savage man utilised fire to do the work 
of mechanical tools, to assist him in conquering the beasts of 
the field, in levelling the discouraging forest, and in over- 
coming his enemies. Imagine the sons of men without fire, 
the sport of every wind. No wonder that so many mythic 
tales begin with the time when a race of fireless men dwelt 
wretchedly on the planet. The first men did not study 
economy, but waste ; for they had to burn their way into a 
right to stand upon the earth. 

The use of fire in hardening wood is alluded to again and 
again by travellers. The well-known digging-stick employed 
in collecting molluscs on the shore, and roots and vermin 
from the earth, which antedates all pickaxes, hoes, and 
spades, was thus tempered. 

The Tanana Indians of Southern Alaska, belong to the 
Athapascan stock. They have no better wood than willow, 
frequently for bows ; but, by dint of heating and rubbing 
many times over, they succeed in giving to the weapon 
considerable elasticity. 

The fishing arrows of the Omahas were made without 
heads. The end of the shaft was cut to a point, then about 
four inches of the end of each shaft was held close to the 

' Ellis, Polynesian Researches^ vol. ii. p. 252. 
"" Man, op. cit, p. 186. 


fire, and it was turned round and round till it was hardened 
by the heat.' 

Other Sioux tribes use arrows without points for certain 
game and fish. The shafts are merely sharpened at the 
ends, which are also hardened in the fire. 

The Pueblo agricultural tribes employ often the fire- 
hardened stick in the raising of their crops. 

The Eskimo and Coast Indians were conversant with the 
use of fire in bending wood, both by heating the green 
sapling and by boiling the wood to be bent. In the chapter 
on woodworking, the use of fire in this regard will be more 
fully explained under boat-building. The dishes of the 
Eskimo and Indians, as well, are made of thin pieces of 
whalebone or spruce-wood heated until they may be bent 
into form. Many hundreds of dishes, especially on the 
Yukon river, are thus shaped, the ends being sewed to- 
gether with spruce-root or whalebone strips. 

The natives of Bowditch Island sometimes burned the 
trunk of a tree to make it fall, but as the fire occasionally 
ran up the heart of the tree as well, they usually cut away 
at the trunk with their shell hatchets day after day until it 
fell. It took froni ten to thirty days to level a tree. Another 
plan was to dig down and cut the roots. In hollowing out 
a block of wood, they did the work by burning. ^ 

The New Caledonians felled trees by means of a slow 
fire close to the ground, taking four days for the operation. 
For hollowing a canoe they cut a hole in the surface of the 
log with a stone axe, kindled a small fire, and burned down 
and along, carefully dropping water all around, to confine 
the blaze to a given spot.3 

Fire opened the door of the primitive races to the use of 
metals. It is not necessary, as stated before, to believe that 
this mutual acquaintance of man and fire and metals is of 
very late occurrence. It is not true, probably, that men 
had to pass altogether through the rude and the polished 

' Dorsey, Third An» Rep, Bur, EthiioUy p. 301. 

' Turner, Samoa^ London, 1884, p. 270. 3 Ibid,^ p. 343. 


stone age before they learned that some stones cracked in 
the fire, some were scarcely affected by it, and others were 
rendered soft and tractable thereby. 

The copper art, not the copper age, in the north central 
states of the Union, just now being carefully studied, 
teaches that a metallic age may co-exist with one of rude 
and polished stone combined. This copper is found in 
outlying masses and in shallow pits. The rocks surrounding 
the almost pure masses were removed by means of fire and 
water. The metal is said to have been hammered cold. 
But there is nothing unreasonable in the suggestion that 
the open wood fire was invoked in the process of making 
drills, needles, chisels, plates, ornamental discs, &c.' 

It is in Africa, however, where the ingenious savage of 
to-day best understands the handling of metal by means 
of fire. Good ore from Nature's hand furnishes the 
material cause of the art. Then follow anvils, sledges of 
stone, charcoal, bellows of skins, tongs, and a host of cold 
chisels, punches, swedging apparatus, constituting quite an 
array of tools. It may be hinted that the Africans were 
taught these arts by wiser men. But the fact remains that 
peoples no higher in culture than North American Indians 
are practising a rude metallurgy by many ingenious pro- 
cesses now peculiar to themselves. 

The negroid tribes inhabiting East Africa use weapons 
and tools made of iron, which they manufacture themselves. 
Among the Kaflfir tribes native smiths are numerous, but 
their knowledge of metallurgic art is very primitive. Two 
round boulders of greenstone serve for an anvil, on which 
the red-hot iron is beaten with a rude hammer, whilst 
another Kaflfir minds the charcoal fire, which is always made 
in a small hole in the ground. Two goat-skins are carefully 
sewn up, and meet in a hollowed-out bullock horn, one end 
of which is turned toward the fire. By alternately pressing 
the one goat-skin down with the hand closed, and pulling 

* See Reynolds, Pop. Sc. Month., vol. xxxi. pp. 519-531 ; Am. Anthro- 
pologist ^ Washington, vol. L pp. 341-352. 


the Other up with the hand open, the air is forced into the 
coals, and sufficient heat is developed for the work. All 
the assegais of the Kaffirs, and the arrowheads of the tribes 
of the north, are made by native smiths, and most of them 
by smelting the iron directly from the ore. The natives 
also understand wire drawing. For this purpose they use 
small plates of iron, into which they bore holes.^ 

Livingstone's description of the South African iron ore 
illustrates well the help afforded by Nature to lower races 
in their arts. The material is obtained from the specular 
iron ore, and from the black oxide, the latter, being well 
roasted in the laboratory of Nature, contains a large propor- 
tion of the metal. It occurs in rounded lumps, and when 
found in river beds, it is easily detected by the oxide on the 
surface, and is dug with pointed sticks. Livingstone gives 
the report of an English gunmaker on this metal.^ 

The smelting furnace of the Dyoor is made of clay, about 
four feet high, with a conical base for charcoal, and a 
goblet-shaped top for the granulated ore. There are four 
perforations at the base through which pass the tewels, by 
means of which a strong current of air is supplied to the 
base of the furnace. In front of one of these is a pit for 
the accumulation of the beads of crude metal. The shaft is 
lighted below, the air is forced through, the ore is melted, 
and after about forty hours particles of molten iron begin 
to ooze and collect in the pit at the bottom. This crude 
metal, by means of stone hammers and repeated heatings 
in a forge, is cleansed and made fit for use.3 

The Bongo furnace is a little more elaborate. It has 
three compartments, the middle one for the reception of 
ore and charcoal in alternate layers, the upper and the 
lower ones for pure coal. The chambers are separated from 
each other by ring-like incrustations on the inner wall. 
The bellows of the Bongo are formed of two trumpet- 

^ Griesbach,y. Anthrop, Inst.^ I^ondon, 1872, p. cliv. 

"" 7 ravels, &*<:., in S. Africa, New York, 1858, p. 695. 

3 Schweinfurth, Artes Africanae, London, 1875, pi. ii. figs. 11, 12. 


shaped earthen vessels, covered on their outer end with 
leather, and opening into a third one. All the negro tribes 
of Africa use such a bellows, with immaterial variations. 
The valve is unknown, a very imperfect substitute being 
secured by piercing holes in the handle at the centre of 
the hide, and using the hands to let the air in and confine 

An interesting metallurgic art has sprung up in two 
regions of North America, namely, in Arizona and New 
Mexico, and in British Columbia and Alaska. It is not 
denied that since the possession of better tools, including 
files and emery paper, much better work is turned out. 
And, earlier still, Russians on the north, and Mexicans on 
the south, have influenced the craft. Still there is a 
residuum of doubt whether the northern Indians, as well 
as the Navajos of the south, may or may not have had a 
superstructure of their own on which to build. At any 
rate, in both regions there are now quaint silver- and 
coppersmiths who practise a curious mixture of savage 
and civilised handiwork in metal. 

Matthews says the appliances and processes of the smith 
are much the same among the Navajo as among the 
Pueblo artisan. But the latter lives in a spacious house, 
and may have a permanent forge just the right height. 
The wandering Navajo constructs a temporary forge on 
the ground. Their tools and materials are few and simple : 
a forge, a bellows, an anvil, crucible, moulds, tongs, scissors, 
pliers, files, awls, cold chisels, matrix and die for moulding 
buttons, wooden implements used in grinding buttons, 
wooden stake, basin, charcoal, tools and materials for 
soldering (blow-pipe, braid of cotton rags soaked in grease, 
wire, and borax), materials for polishing (sand-paper, emery- 
paper, powdered sandstone, sand, ashes, and solid stone), 
and materials for whitening (a native mineral substance — 
almogen — salt, and water). 

A forge built for Dr. Matthews by an Indian was 23 

* Schweinfurth, Artes Africanae^ London, 1875, P^* v. pp. 4, 5, 6. 


inches long, i6 inches broad, 5 inches in height to the 
edge of the fireplace, and the latter, which was bowl- 
shaped, was 8 inches in diameter, and 3 inches deep. The 
forge was made of mud. Before this was completed a 
wooden nozzle was laid in for the bellows, where it was 
to remain, with one end about 6 inches from the fireplace, 
and the other end projecting about the same distance from 
the frame. Then he stuck into the nozzle a round piece of 
wood, which reached from the nozzle to the fireplace, and 
when the mudwork was finished the stick was withdrawn, 
leaving an uninflammable tweer. The nozzle of the bellows 
was tied to the protruding end of the wooden tube. The 
whole task of constructing did not occupy more than an 
hour. The bellows was a bag of goat-skin tied at one end 
to its nozzle, and nailed at the other to a disc of wood, in 
which is the valve. Handles and other accessories of the 
bellows were carved from wood. The nozzle was made of four 
pieces of wood tied together, and rounded on the outside 
so as to form a cylinder with a quadrangular hole in the 
centre about one inch square.' The bellows were worked by 
a horizontal motion of the arm. 

For an anvil they employ any suitable^ piece of iron, but 
hard stones are still used sometimes for the same purpose. 
Crucibles are made of clay baked hard. After being in the 
fire two or three times they swell and become very porous. 
Some smiths use for crucibles fragments of Pueblo pottery. 
The moulds for casting their ingots are easily cut in sand- 
stone with a home-made chisel. Each mould is cut approxi- 
mately in the shape of the article which is to be wrought 
out of the ingot, and is greased with suet before the metal 
is poured in. Tongs are made like sugar-tongs, and often 
nippers or scissors are used for tongs. Ordinary scissors 
are used in cutting the metal after it is wrought into thin 

' This method of securing a bore, even in a crooked pipestem, is wide- 
spread. The Eskimo split a piece of wood, cut opposing gutters in the 
two halves^ which are then joined again, and held firm by a lashing of 



plates. Iron pliers, hammers, and files are purchased from 
the whites. The latter serve not only their legitimate 
functions, but are also used for punches and gravers 
Metallic hemispheres for beads and buttons are made in a 
concave matrix by means of a round pointed bolt serving 
for a die. These matrices and dies are made by the Indians. 
On one bar of iron there may be many matrices of different 
sizes ; only one die fitting the smallest cavity is required to 
work the metal in all. For levelling the edges of the 
metallic hemispheres for buttons and beads, a small, roundish 
cavity is cut in the end of a cylinder of wood, of such size 
that it will hold the hemisphere tightly, but allow the 
uneven edges to project. The hemisphere is placed in this, 
and then rubbed on a flat piece of sandstone until the edges 
are worn level with the end of the wooden cylinder. For 
making charcoal they build a large fire of dry juniper, and 
when it has ceased to flame they smother it well with earth. 
If the fire is kindled at sunset the charcoal is ready for use 
next morning. The smith makes his own blowpipe, usually 
by beating a piece of thick brass wire into a flat strip, and 
then bending this into a tube about a foot long, slightly 
tapering, and curved at one end. They blow an intermitting 
current with undistended cheeks. The flame used in solder- 
ing is derived from a thick braid of cotton rags soaked in 
grease. For polishing they use powdered sandstone, sand, 
or ashes — all without water. For blanching, almogen 
(hydrous sulphate of alumina) is dissolved in water with 
salt. The silver, slightly heated, is boiled in this solution, 
and soon becomes white. 

The Navajo silversmiths crouch on the ground while 
working. The whole process of producing their ware is 
minutely worked out by Matthews.' 

But the splendid victory of man over the earth was 
achieved literally with the firebrand. The memory of con- 
flagrations seems to haunt the dreams of bears and jackals 

' Cf, Matthews, Second An, Rep, Bur, Ethnol,^ Washington, 1883, pp. 
171-178, pi. xvi.-xx. 


and tigers, and all ferocious beasts. The naked African has 
only to kindle a little flame and lie down to sleep among 
ravenous lions. The wolf, the cougar, the wild cat, were 
long ago taught the hopelessness of resisting its fury. Great 
hunting excursions were made successful by setting the grass 
on fire. Venomous serpents and insects and bitter enemies 
of man, visible and invisible, had to yield to the brand. 

The Shooli negroes hunt larger mammals thus by a co- 
operative method. Each man supplies a certain length 
of netting, and these are fastened together, it may be, to 
form a continuous barrier over a mile long. This is set up 
in the high grass along a space that has been burned over. 
Before each section of net a man is concealed. Several 
thousands of acres to the windward are fired, compelling 
the animals to run towards the nets, where they are killed 
by the men in hiding.' The hunting season commences 
when the grass is fit to burn. But should a person set fire 
to grass belonging to another proprietor, he would be con- 

In the old camping days on the American prairies con- 
stant watchfulness and ingenuity were demanded in prevent- 
ing the ravages of fire. The aborigines were well aware of 
this, and racked their brains to prevent the danger. They 
made fire in pits, cut trenches that the fire might not cross, 
and even saved their lives by burning a space before the 
great conflagration could reach them, and over this the 
flames could not pass.^ 

Not only in the pursuit of wild beasts, but in the art of 
war, fire held primarily a conspicuous place. The devices 
used will be described in the Chapter on War. The firebrand 
and its various processes in conquering and subduing the 
beasts inimical to man, and in compelling the earth to yield 
submissively to his dictation would form a study by itself. 
Even omitting the desolations of war caused thereby, one is 

' Baker, Ismatliat New York, 1875, P* 457> ^^^^ figure. 
' Cf, Christy, "Why are the Prairies Treeless?" Proc. Roy, Geog. Soc, 
London, 1892, pp. 78-99. 


led to place this deadly weapon at the head of the list of 
useful inventions. Agriculture may be said to have been 
born of fire. There are many regions of the earth where 
this wasteful method still obtains. The forests are fired ; 
the young growth is removed ; the crops are planted ; the 
blasted trunks are left to decay gradually. By and by the 
fertility of the ground is exhausted, and the prodigal hus- 
bandman makes another fiery onslaught upon the original 
forest. Fields are abandoned to grow up in such crops as 
seem them best. This was the primitive agriculture. In 
many places the modern farmer finds that he has been 
anticipated by men of whom there is no record. 

The employment of fire as a mechanical means of deter- 
mining definite portions of time must not be overlooked. 
Dr. Walter Hough has collected a number of examples under 
this head, among them the following ' : — 

The Polynesians skewer a number of the nuts of the 
candle-nut tree {Aleurites triloba) on a long palm-leaf midrib 
and light the upper one. Each kernel consumes in about 
ten minutes to a charred mass, which must be removed by 
an attendant when the next one below is ignited. The 
Marquesans tie bits of tapa at intervals along the torch.* 

In China, the prescribed time during which the royal 
procession at the coronation of the emperor must move 
through the distance between the palace and the temple is 
regulated by a functionary who burns a joss-stick of a fixed 
length. At present in China, gong heung, or time-incense, 
consisting of five sticks of pressed wood-dust, made long 
or short according to the season, is burnt during the night, 
which is divided into five watches. 

In Western China the water is raised by immense wheels 
belonging to the village, or to individuals who sell it to the 
peasants. The price is calculated by the quantity that flows 
from the wheel while a given length of joss- stick burns.3 

' Am. Anthropologist^ vol. vi. p. 209. 

' See also supra, note on the Hawaiians by Bishop. 

3 See Rockhill, Th^ Land of the Llamas, p. 4?. 


Chinese messengers who have a short time to sleep awake 
themselves by means of a" lighted bit of joss-stick between 
the toes. In Korea the palace clock is an oiled paper 
lantern enclosing a rope of hemp soaked in nitre. Each 
hour is divided into four parts by cords tied to the rope. 
Time is announced by a lantern having transparent slides. 
The Koreans also reckon time after the manner of Wouter 
van Twiller — by the number of pipes smoked. 

The European expressions, " marked candles," ** King 
Alfred's," " auction by candle," ** courting by candle," &c., 
are well known, and tell of the prolonged survival of a very 
ancient type of clock. 

A series of human activities, connected for the most part 
with religion, have been ever associated with fire on the 
ceremonial side of life. In the simplest forms of Christian 
worship, from which almost all symbolism is eliminated, 
one constantly hears the word used in a figurative sense, 
in allusion to ancient altars. From this poetic allusion 
backward through symbolism, through sacrifices by fire, to 
fire-worship is a tolerably straight road. 

The exorcism of horses and other animals among American 
tribes is well known. Matthews describes and illustrates 
with graphic power the introduction of fire into the Navajo 
medicine ceremonies. ** The building of the great stack of 
juniper and cedar, twelve feet high and sixty paces in 
circumference, went on simultaneously with the sand 

" At the moment the music began the great central fire 
was lighted, and the conflagration spread so rapidly through 
the entire pile that in a few moments it was enveloped in 
great flames. A storm of sparks flew upward to the height 
of a hundred feet or more, and the descending ashes fell in 
the corral like a light shower of snow. The heat was soon 
so intense that in the remotest parts of the enclosure it was 
necessary for one to screen his face when he looked towards 
the fire. 

'* When the fire gave out its most intense heat a warning 


whistle was heard in the outer darkness, and a dozen forms, 
lithe, lean, dressed only in the narrow white breech-cloth 
and moccasins, and daubed with white earth until they 
seemed a group of living marbles, came bounding through 
the entrance, yelping like wolves, and slowly moving around 
the fire. . . . When they had encircled the fire twice they 
began to thrust their wands towards it. One would dash 
wildly toward the fire and retreat ; another would lie as 
close to the ground as a frightened lizard, and endeavour to 
wriggle himself up to the fire ; others sought to catch on 
their wands the sparks flying in the air. One approached 
the flaming mass, suddenly threw himself on his back with 
his head to the fire, and swiftly thrust his wand into the 
flames.'' The end proposed in each case was to burn the 
bunch of down from the end of the wand, and with a show 
of dexterity to restore it.^ 

" Formerly," says Lacouperie, " the ancient kings [of 
China] had no houses. In winter they lived in caves which 
they had excavated, and in summer in nests which they 
had framed. They knew not yet the transforming power 
of fire, but ate the fruits of plants and trees, and the flesh 
of birds and beasts, drinking the blood and swallowing the 
hair and feathers (as well). They knew not yet the use of 
flax and silk, but clothed themselves with feathers and skins. 
*' The later sages arose and men (learned) to take advantage 
of the benefits of fire. They moulded the metal and 
fashioned the clay, so as to rear towers with structures on 
them, and houses with windows and doors. They toasted, 
grilled, boiled, and roasted. They produced must and 
sauces. They dealt with the flax and silk so as to form 
linen and silken fabrics.'' ^ 

The simplest invention with regard to the preservation 
of fire grew to most important offices and ceremonies among 

* Matthews, Fifth An. Rep, Bur. Ethuol.^ p. 432, pi. xii. The 
reader should try to see the wonderful illustrations of this paper. 

* The Silk Goddess^ London, 1891, Nutt, p. 17; compare ]. Legge, 
The Li ki, p. 369. 


the cultured nations of antiquity. The Greek prytaneum 
and the temple of Vesta at Rome were the culmination of 
a series of cults, which began with the central tent fire of 
primitive peoples. M. Elie Reclus, in his article " Fire '* 
in the Encyclopcedia Britannica^ works out this idea, but 
Professor Frazer more recently gives clearly the line of 
progress in the development of the Prytaneum, the temple 
of Vesta, the Vestals and Perpetual fires. " The Prytaneum, 
a round building with a pointed, umbrella-shaped roof, was 
originally the house of the king, chief, or headman (prytams) 
of an independent village or town, and it contained a fire 
that was kept constantly burning. When a colony was 
sent out, the fire for the chief ^s house {prytaneutn) in the 
new village was taken from that in the chief's house of the 
old village." " The Italian temple of Vesta, like the Greek 
prytaneum, was a round building. Tradition preserved the 
memory of the time when its walls were made of wattled 
osiers, and the roof was of thatch. The inmost shrine 
continued down to even late times to be formed of the same 
simple materials. Thus, looking back into the dim past, 
we descry the chiefs of the old Graeco-Italian clans dwelling 
in round huts of wattled osiers with peaked roofs of thatch. 
And through the open door of the hut we see a fire burning 
on the hearth." " The gathering of sticks and putting 
them on the fire probably fell on those * maids-of-all-work ' 
in early households — the wife and daughters. Afterwards 
the fire in the hut, which royalty had relinquished to 
religion, was tended by maidens, who represented the 
daughters of the king." 

" The creation of new fires, />., the formal extinction and 
rekindling of fires at fixed periods, like the custom of 
maintaining perpetual fires, probably owed their origin, not 
to any profound theory of the relation of the life of man 
to the courses of the heavens, but to the elementary 
difficulty of lighting the kitchen fire by rubbing two sticks 
against each other." * 

* J. G. Frazer, J, of PhiloLt London, 1885, vol. xiv. pp. 145-172. 
The whole paper should be read. 


Mr. Frazer is correct in the main, but it is not difficult 
to make fire with two sticks. The more probable motive 
in new fire was the finding of fire kindled by natural causes. 
The tribes on the Western Soudan extinguish every fire 
when they find a tree ignited by lightning. The Anda- 
manese keep perpetual fire sacredly, because they have 
never learned how to kindle it. 



" In seeking to ascertain the method by which the stone implements 
and weapons of antiquity were fabricated, we cannot, in all probability, 
follow a better guide than that which is afforded us by the manner in 
which instruments of a similar character are produced at the present day." 
— ^JoHN Evans. 

The modern savage and his ancient representatives revealed 
in the study of archaeology were good lithologists. They 
knew in each region what stone was best for their purposes 
in every emergency. They found out where this material 
abounded under the best conditions to be worked. They 
planned methods and invented apparatus for mining and 
quarrying it. They transported the material for long 
distances, half shaped it in their quarries to reduce the 
weight, made treaties with hostile tribes to secure the right 
to visit the coveted spot, and bartered the choicest of their 
own productions with fortunate possessors of the coveted 
material. All of these statements are known by archaeo- 
logists to be true, and abundant examples may be cited to 
substantiate them. 

But the savage man's knowledge of lithology did not 
stop at his acquaintance with materials. The qualities of 
substances were known to him, both as to working and as 
to using. He could tell you how each kind of mineral 
ought to be worked, and how it would do its work after 
it was put into shape. An examination of his workshops 
demonstrates that he understood cleavage and granular 



Structure, and the idiosyncrasies of each stone. Many 
hundreds of rejected pieces about the quarries have been 
struck only one or two or three blows and then thrown 
away ; as though the ancient stone- worker communed with 
himself thus : "I have struck this one blow, and that is 
enough to prove that this rock or cobblestone is too soft, 
too friable, or without proper cleavage." After a second 
stroke, it would occur to him that there were flaws or hard 
lumps in the way. Perhaps all went well around one side 
of the pebble ; but on turning the stone over and flaking, 
he would be assured by long experience that the blade or 
other object he sought to make would be much too thick. 
This would result in abandoning the experiment. A 
careful study of this subject, by Holmes especially, leads to 
the inevitable conclusion that the prehistoric savage had 
nothing more to learn about the physical properties of 
minerals that were necessary for him to use in his 
avocations. So true is this that the most skilful flint- 
knappers of Brandon and elsewhere are not able to 
reproduce some of the more beautiful forms that are 
common in museums. The Smithsonian Institution has 
had a number of skilled workmen spend a great deal of 
time on the making of a leaf-shaped blade, but they have 
never succeeded in the effort. 

The very earliest men suspected to have lived upon this 
earth by the French archaeologists were the people of 
Thenay. But they and their ancestors must have walked 
along the shores of time far enough and long enough to 
study all minerals and all rocks, and to select the best one 
in all the earth for chipping and flaking. These flints of 
Thenay were found by the Abbe Bourgeois in what he 
believed to be undisturbed Tertiary formation, and so able 
an archaeologist as Gabriel de Mortillet sustains him in the 
conclusion. Indeed, the distinguished archaeologist has 
placed these Thenay flints at the head of the class in the 
St. Germain museum. This implies, as was just said, that 
man existed in the indescribably long ago Tertiary, an 


that he had even then graduated in mineralogy. There 
are other ways of explaining these interesting pieces. They 
may not after all be of human workmanship. They may 
not have been found in place in the undisturbed Tertiary. 
The Abbe was not a geologist, and sharper eyes than his 
have been deceived in such matters. Finally, these flints 
may not be the finished products of extremely ancient art 
work, but the rejected material of later flint chippers, 
just as one finds spalls of marble and blocked-out rejecta 
about the sites of ancient and modern stone-cutters' yards. 
Within the few past years investigations have been con- 
ducted in the United States, chiefly by the gentlemen 
connected with the Bureau of Ethnology of the Smith- 
sonian Institution, which make it clear that millions of 
roughly chipped stones formerly thought to be ancient, on 
account of their form, are only the refuse left by men who 
were aiming to make blades. This leads to the conclusion 
that in other lands it is quite possible that many surface 
finds are "rejects,'* not implements. The question of 
antiquity is a geological one. 

The geologic surroundings of savages had a pronounced 
effect upon their implements, masonry, sculpture, utensils, 
and weapons, limiting the forms and sizes, and determining 
to a considerable extent the kinds employed in the various 
districts, independently of biologic and other conditions. 

The geology of the tide-water country in the United 
States is altogether unlike that of the highland, and the 
rocks available to the aborigines in the two regions were 
not only diff'erent in distribution, but peculiar in the shapes 
they received and in other features that affect the character 
of the utensils made and employed. 

The workable stones, such as argillite quartz, quartzite, 
rhyolite, jasper, and flint were much sought by the abori- 
gines of the lowland. Fragmental material was to be 
obtamed almost everywhere upon the surface, but choice 
varieties were confined to limited areas and often to distant 
regions ; and, where surface exposures were not sufficient 




\ A A A A A ^" 







to supply the demand, quarrying was resorted to, and the 
work of securing, transporting, and trading or exchanging 
the stone must have become an important factor in the 
lives of the people. The masses of rock were uncovered, 
broken up, and tested ; the best pieces were selected and 
reduced to forms approximating the implements to be made, 
and in this shape they were carried to the lowland. 

In the lowland all varieties of hard stones are fragmental, 
and the species are intermingled in various ways. The 
fragments of rock are not merely broken, angular pieces, 
but rounded masses and bits known as boulders, cobbles, 
and pebbles, and comprise chiefly such tough flinty, homo- 
geneous stones as are available in the arts of primitive man. 
Nature, in her own way, selected from the highland along 
the stream courses the very choicest bits of crumbled rocks, 
reduced them in hundreds of cataract mills and in the 
breakers on the shores of ancient seas to rounded forms, 
and deposited them in the lowlands in great heaps and 
beds. Nature has not provided any other form of the 
several tough varieties of stone so perfectly suited to the 
purposes of the implement flaker as the boulder or pebble. 

Nature selected the rocks used by the tide- water peoples 
and distributed them in groups, varying with the original 
location, with hardness, with toughness, with shape and 
with size. The effect of these conditions of distribution 
upon the stone art of the various districts was necessarily 
very pronounced. One community located near deposits of 
large boulders used them, and the tools shaped therefrom 
are large on the average, and vice versd,^ 

The most important result of Holmes^s investigation is 
the emphasis laid on the fact that thousands of spalls and 
wrought stones lying about, which have been called paleo- 
lithic implements, because they are so rude, are only the 
rejecta of the quarrymen and of the blocking-out process. 
By actual experiments, Mr. Holmes and others have shown 

' Consult Holmes, '* Distribution of Stone Implements, &c.,'* Am, An* 
ihrofolo^st^ Washington, J893, vol. vi. pp. 1-14, 2 pi. 


that for one boulder that yields a good implement at least 
ten are thrown away after one, two, or more blows that 
reveal the weak spot. 

In repeating the processes of the ancient cutlers and 
armourers, Holmes found among the ** rejects," or 
*^ wasters,'* three well-marked steps of progression. The 
first class of rejects were discarded after one, or at most two, 
blows, revealing bad material. The second class have one 
face chipped over, the other still showing the unwrought 
mineral ; but this half- working brings to light a hump or 
fault on the chipped side. The third class are wrought on 
both sides, but on the dressing down of the second side 
some weakness revealed itself, and the " turtle-back " was 
discarded. Unless geological evidence is forthcoming to 
prove that a given piece is ancient. Holmes does not regard 
the form of the artefact to be good evidence either of antiquity 
or of the utility of the specimen. It is simply rubbish. 

It is worthy of note in this connection that, in many of 
the European paleolithic sites, the most beautiful leaf-shaped 
implements in the world are found associated with so-called 
paleoliths. And this is exactly what Mr. Holmes finds to be 
true in his quarry sites — boulders, cracked boulders, turtle- 
backs, and broken leaf-shaped pieces, fractured at the last 
moment, all in one confused mass. But near by, on an 
adjoining camp-site, knives, spear-heads, arrow-points, and 
the rest abound. " Nearly all rude, bulky implements of 
chipped stone, and all failures or rejects of manufacture, are, 
as a matter of course, found upon or near the sites from 
which the raw materials were derived." 

Again, the percentage of failures — turtle-backs and other 
refuse of manufacture — decreases rapidly with the distance 
from the source of supply of the raw material, extending little 
beyond it.^ In one instance Holmes was able to trace up a 
rhyolite quarry from a camp site a hundred miles away by 

' Holmes, " Distribution of Stone Implements," Am, Anthropologist^ 
Washington, 1893, vol. vi. pp. 1-14. Also H. C« Mercer, Pop. Sc, 
Monthly, New York, 1893, September. 


simply following up the implements and wasted chips of this 
material along the lines of their greatest abundance. 

The earliest period of human industry is called the 
" Stone Age," because, in digging about among the graves 
and remains of the past, archaeologists find relics made of 
stone always lower down, or in older beds, than relics made 
of metal ; and it is conceivable that there might have be^ a 
time when men were so rude as to use naught but apparatus 
of stone in their industries. But there is no evidence of such 
a period. The careful study of modern savages proves that 
for every stone tool showing evidence of human workmanship 
there were many more constructed of wood, bone, shell, hide, 
&c. And these very pieces of stone themselves were accom- 
panied with, and attached to, other and perishable material. 
Even the hammer-stone was an apparatus for making some- 
thing else which could not be used until it was so attached. 
The stonecutter's age began very early in the history of work- 
manship, but even then he was only one of many craftsmen. 
It is convenient, however, if we keep this explanation in 
mind, to speak of a " stone age," in which was developed 
the search for material and the study of its qualities with a 
view to working it into the general scheme of mechanical 
appliances in vogue. 

The aboriginal stone- working art may be subdivided in 
several ways. Men have been wont to speak of a palaeolithic 
and a neolithic age of the world, or status of culture. In 
the former, the products are said to have been only rudely 
chipped and flaked ; in the latter, they were battered and 
ground, or polished. 

These two terms have become firmly embedded in the 
vocabulary of archaeology, and when properly used are con- 
venient. But they have not always been judiciously em- 
ployed. I here take for granted that men have practised 
every art rudely at first, and have learned to work at it 
more cleverly later on. This is true of every human 

But there is another truth that must be also tenaciously 


held in mind. Arts, industries, occupations, are all;^deter- 
mined by the proximity of material. It is easier to peck a 
granular stone than it is to chip a flinty one. Polishing one 
stone on another is a simpler art, and easier to learn, than 
making a delicately flaked dagger of flint, and it does not 
require half the knack. It is even conceivable that a region 
might be so favourably situated that savage men could more 
easily develop an .age of metal therein than one of polished 
or of chipped stone. There are vast tracts of earth where 
there is not a mineral having conchoidal fracture. Here 
were discovered tribes of aborigines in the polished, or at 
least the hammered, stone age. But they were cannibals, 
and their language and social system both showed that they 
were low in the scale of culture. The conclusion is not that 
these savages had passed through a chipped stone age before 
they were found, but that they did the easiest thing within 
the capabilities of their environment. The Polynesian 
Islanders, the natives of the West Indies, the Tlingit Indians 
are examples of this class. 

In certain portions of Africa, in Canada, and perhaps in 
Michigan, the metal age is as old as the stone age, and from 
some areas all evidence of the stone age is absent. The 
wiser method of looking at this matter is to hold that each 
art has had its elaboration in the home of its proper materials, 
beginning with simple and almost infantile processes, and 
working along through greater complexity to their perfec- 
tion. That there has been degradation and dissolution of 
skill and industry is equally true. But, when men lost 
their knack in polishing stone they did not take to chipping 
or flaking. They simply made a more sorry job of battering 
and polishing. This process may be seen in any city where 
new methods are introduced. A few non-progressive per- 
sons will hold on to an old art, and it will decline in their 

In studying out the evolution of invention as regards the 
stoneworker^s art, therefore, little help will come from the 
terms " paElaeoHthic " and " neolithic/' These are excellent 



in their place in the classification of a definite series of art 
products like that of Western Europe, where flint was first 
blocked out, then chipped or ground to an edge merely, then 
polished over the whole surface. 

From the point of view here assumed, whence we may 
look down upon the workman, and his work, and his reward, 
and the demands of a more and more exacting public, it 
is better to disregard 
this historic specula- 
tion, and turn the eye 
upon the various ar- 
tisans and tools en- 
gaged. The aboriginal 
stoneworkers, or stone- 
workings, may be thus 
classified : — 

1. The stone-knap- 
pers : makers of spalls, 
and artefacts with large 
facets. Their imple- 
ments were at first 
other stones, then stone 
hammers specially se- 
lected and formed, and I'IG. 19.— The first blow in Stone Imple- 

r^ 4.1 ^ 1 • ment Making. (After Holmes A 

after that knappmg & v ^ 

hammers of metal. The art consists in breaking stone with 

a blow. 

2. Stone-chippers and flakers ; makers of chipped products. 
Their tools were small hammers of stone, but more especially 
pointed pieces of bone or antler, which were used as pitching 
tools, or for pressure. 

3. Hammerers of stone : makers of mortars, pestles, axes, 
sculptures of all kinds. Their apparatus was the stone 
hammer, ancestor of modern bush-hammers. 

4. Stonecutters, par excellence : workers in soft materials 
at first, such as soapstone and the less compact volcanic 
rocks. The tools were chisel-like, or gravers, and were 



worked with the hands rather than struck with mallets. 
The modern carvers are their descendants. 

5. Sawers of stone and other hard materials. Their 
tools are not well understood, since, strange to tell, few 
white men have ever reported observations on the subject. 

6. Borers of stone. Their tools were drills of soft material 
chiefly, used with sand, and, in boring soft stone, harder 
stone points. 

7. Polishers of stone. Other stones with or without 
sand, and corals or ochres, were the means employed. It 
was well known to the early artificers of this class that the 
dust of any stone was its best polisher. After the same 
fashion the diamond is polished with diamond dust. 

A complete catalogue of the workmen of this class would 
have to include also thequarriers of stone, with rude shovels 
of scapula, crowbars of hard wood burnt at the end, sledge 
hammers of huge boulders, with or without hafting, and a 
skilful use of fire and water; The human beast of burden, 
with wallet of skin or woven basketry, would complete the list. 

The recent examination of immense aboriginal quarries in 
the United States discloses this whole series of ancient 
activities. They were in full operation always when the 
explorers and settlers first visited each region. 

Above all, it should be remembered that two or more ot 
these artisans, and indeed all of them, in the early culture 
periods, might be one and the same person. The Indian 
quarriers about the city of Washington, doubtless, who dug 
into the hill at Piney Branch and extracted the boulders, 
were the same men who tested and trimmed them, who 
flaked and chipped them, and who wore the products out in 
the chase or in war. The differentiation of crafts came 
later. In the West Indies, surely, the same artists quarried 
the volcanic rocks and worked out the stone collars and 
mammiform stones.^ 

' Mason, "Antiquities of Porto Rico," Smithson, Rep,^ 1876, pp. 
372-393, many figures. Also Smitkson, Rejf., 1884. The Guesde Col- 



In our day there would be division of labour in such 
matters. In any stonecutter's yard may be seen at work the 
spall-maker and stone-breaker, with great hammer or with 
mallet and steel chisels. Indeed, he will on occasion break 
one stone with another. 

In the flint-knapper's humble shops, about Brandon, the 
chipper of gun flints holds the office of the old-time dagger- 
makers near by. 

On all public buildings the busher, pounding away on a 
block of granite with several plates of steel fastened to- 
gether, is the lineal descendant of the very ancient wielder 
of the stone hammer in battering and pecking stone. 

In the steam marble works strips of soft iron sawing back- 
wards and forward separate the material through the co- 
operation of sand and water as in primeval times. 

It is not decidedly known when the ancestors of gem- 
cutters and borers began to use emery or corundum powder. 
But the lapidary's wheel and the mechanical devices for 
polishing industrial stone look backward easily to the first 
savages rubbing one stone against another of the same sort 
or of harder material. The same stone that does the 
rubbing is itself rubbed, and in many operations the sand or 
emery is reduced to a fine flour that makes the best of 

For the more civilised successors of the savage quarrymen 
the reader will have to make a journey to Peru, Mexico, 
Easter Island, Southern India, or ascend the Nile and 
examine the beds from which were cut, with very simple 
appliances, the great blocks for Egyptian sphinxes and 
obelisks, or he must visit the quarries of Baalbec or Perse- 
polis, or the later-worked beds of Italy and Greece. 

What with steam excavators, and drills, and dynamite, 
and travelling cranes, the modern quarryman has gone very 
far past the early processes. Yet he cannot even guess how 
his predecessors removed and set up the great monuments 
of the past. 

The knapping of stone as an art is not practised in 


precisely the same fashion throughout all savage areas, 
owing to national traits and cleverness, to material and to 
the end proposed. The Eastern Indian of the United States 
doubtless held a boulder of quartz or a mass of rhyolite or 
argillite in his left hand, and with another suitable piece, or 
with a specially hard specimen which he kept for the pur- 
pose, held in the right hand, struck a smart blow upon the 
former to determine its quality. At this point the material 
piece was either accepted or thrown away. If the workman 
with his right hand kept on striking sharp, hard, ringing 
blows, carrying away conchoidal flakes from first one side 
then the other, until the stone assumed the correct form for 
dressing down. 

The problem ever before the workman's mind was to 
prevent the occurrence of a hump or monticule in the 
middle of the object. Should such a hump be left, the 
subsequent processes for making a beautiful leaf-shaped blade 
could not go on. 

It is contended among archaeologists of one school, how- 
ever, that these pieces with thick centres, called " turtle- 
backs" in the United States and Chellean or Mousterian 
implements in France, were designedly blocked out, that 
they are really one type in an evolutionary series, that the 
maker of chipped implements must needs have gone through 
this form of work before he invented processes by which he 
could avoid the hump in the middle and secure a laminated 
blade. The American archaeologists, who have laboured 
long to repeat the processes of the aborigines in stone work, 
find themselves unavoidably making " turtle-backs " when 
they are really trying to create the leaf-shaped blade. If 
that be so, then such pieces found in earlier geological 
horizons are really palaeolithic, and there can be no objec- 
tion to such an opinion. 

In the country of obsidian and of the finest calcareous 
flint the object of the knapper in earliest times was not only 
to secure leaf-shaped or almond-shaped implements. Long 
razor-like blades were in great demand for scarifying, shaving. 



sacrificing, and for domestic purposes. The California Indians 
used a " coid-chisei " or pitching-tool of antler struck with a 
hammer of wood or stone for such results. 

No historic reference is found descriptive of the way in 
which the ancient Mexicans and the savages of Western 
Europe struck off long and even blades of obsidian and flint. 
It is possible, by carefully studying the texture of these 
materials, to do this work with a blow. Some references 
are to be found to the use of great and steady pressure. 
But the evidence is clear enough that, with the proper 

Fig. 2C.— Removing Flakes with Stone Hammer. {Af/er Holmes,) 

knack, either the ancient Dane or Frenchman might with 
a single blow of his stone hammer remove a flint blade 
nearly a foot in length. The Mexican knapper was equally 
clever, as the abundant relics of his handicraft testify. 

The tools and processes of the stone-chipper or flaker are 
more varied. The author has seen both Indians and white 
men pound a small chip of jasper into excellent shape for an 
arrow-head with a small pebble of quartz alone. For the 
scraper blades and coarser knives and smaller weapons there 
is no doubt that this process sufficed. To effect this, take 
a thin chip of any conchoidal stone between the left thumb 


and forefinger. With an elongated pebble of hard stone 
strike a series of quick, light, elastic blows along one margin 
of the chip, barely touching it. The nearer one comes to 
missing the edge the better. The blow is better struck 
downward and slightly under. Turning the chip over, the 
other margin may be similarly trimmed, and, by reversing 
it end for end, the processes may be repeated on the margins 
from different sides. Any one possessing a large series of 
American arrow-heads will observe that the margins of 
many of them have been trimmed by the end to end 
reversion when the chip is revolved. 

Even when the little chipping hammer has not been the 
principal implement, its services have not been altogether 
dispensed with. There is no doubt, however, that the chief 
apparatus in the manufacture of chipped implements through- 
out the world has involved some kind of pressure. 

The Eskimo are still in the chipped stone age all the way 
around from Mackenzie river to the Yukon mouth. The 
most delightful raw material for whale lances, deer lances, 
arrow-heads, scrapers, and knives abounds. One of the 
commonest objects to be found in ethnological collections 
from that region is the chipping tool. It consists of two 
parts, a handle of walrus ivory exactly carved to fit the 
chipper^s palm, enabling him or her to have the firmest 
grip and to exert the greatest pressure. AH of these handles 
are finished with the utmost care and highly polished. 

At the working end of this ivory grip is a groove dug out 
about two inches long, half an inch deep, and less than a 
quarter of an inch in width. 

Into this groove is fitted a strip of very hard antler or 
bone, extending, say, one inch beyond the end of the handle. 
The two parts are firmly seized together by a band of sinew 
or fine raw-hide string. The apparatus is ready now for 

Before describing its process, it ought to be said that the 
two parts have each a raison d^Hre, A piece of antler or 
bone could not be found large enough for the grip or handle. 


And that material is entirely too slippery and hard for the 
chipping point. Wood is too soft, ivory is too hard. A 
material is needed which is tough enough to break stone 
and yet soft enough to allow the stone to sink into its 
substance a little way to get a hold. Hard bone or antler 
are of all things the best, as every Indian had found out 
before Columbus discovered America. Expert Indians will 
do the finest chipping with a steel point. But this can be 
made very sharp at the end, and does not slip. White men 
who make arrow-heads prefer the point of steel. 
The method of using the chipper among the Eskimo is to 

Fig. 21. — Chipping Stone by downward pressure. (After Holmes.) 

lay a glove or piece of hide in the left hand, to place on this 
the bit of stone to be wrought, and then to hold it in place 
by means of the thumb. Thus prepared, the workman or 
workwoman (for both sexes chip stone in Alaska) grasps the 
chipper in the right hand and presses downward along the 
edge of the stone, making thirty or forty efforts per minute, 
feeling the way along, gauging the width of the chips deftly, 
until the point or butt is reached. The piece is turned over 
or reversed, as in the process last described. The especial 
feature of the Eskimo work is this downward pressure, which 
to a civilised artisan would seem to be working in the dark.* 
In the United States National Museum is a collection of 
the fibulae of the deer, pieces of very hard bone about a foot 

* Figured and described in Murdoch, Ninth An. Rep. Bni\ Ethnohy 
Washington, 1892, p. 288, figs. 279 281. 



long and pointed at one end. They are the chipping tools 
of the Shoshonean tribes of the Great Interior Basin of the 
United States. These Indians made their arrow-heads, 
spear-heads, and knives of jasper chiefly. Their method of 
procedure was to grasp the chipper near the working end, 
so that the other end might be firmly braced in the forearm. 
The bone in drying becomes extremely tough and strong, 
having the two qualities requisite in a chipper, strength and 
bight. Testimony is conflicting as to whether the Shosho- 
nean presses up- 
ward or downward. 
The probability is 
that the versatile 
artisan uses the 
process that suits 
him. In one case 
he would grasp his 
bit of stone with 
the second joint of 
his thumb and the 
first joint of his 
forefinger, and 
push off his little 
flakes upward. 
This process may be repeated by any one who will grind 
the end of a tooth-brush handle to a point and follow the 
directions. By the other process the Shoshonean imitates 
the Eskimo, lays the piece of stone upon a bit of leather 
in his palm, and presses upon the edge in a downward 

Mr. Gushing informed the writer that the long and 
beautifully crenated surfaces of choice daggers and other 
blades were produced by placing little bits of soft gum along 
the midrib at regular intervals, and then using pressure. 
The writer has for years sought for an Indian who could 
do this fine dagger work, but he has failed. This is indeed 
one of the lost arts. The English gun-flint makers are able 

Fig. 22. — Flaking Stone by outward pressure. 
{After Holmes.) 


to take a core of flint and divide it into a series of laminae 
with marvellous skill ; but no amount of reward has been 
able to tempt one of them to produce a leaf- shaped blade. 
Mr. Edward Lovett, of the Bank of Scotland, went to great 
pains for the author to secure the services of a knapper to do 
this work, but the specimens turned out to be utter failures. 
The deft hands that were once so numerous have lost their 
cunning, and there may never stand on earth another who 
can imitate what they wrought.' 

"The Andaman Islanders employ chips of quartz for 
lancets and razors. No piece is used more than once, and 
several may be required for each operation. Those having 
a sharp, blade-like edge are reserved for shaving, while 
others with a fine point are kept for tattooing or scarifying. 
Flaking is regarded as one of the duties of women, and is 
done by them. For making chips two pieces of quartz are 
needed. One is first heated and allowed to cool ; it is then 
held firmly and struck at right angles with the other stone. 
The smallest flakes are obtained in this way and not by 
pressure." ^ 

The rejected flakes and cores are thrown upon the refuse 
heap to prevent their cutting the feet of children, and Dr. 
Man thinks that this accounts for supposed rude stone 
implements found in Kjokkenmoddings. 

As intimated previously, there are vast regions of the 
earth, once inhabited by savages, where there does not 
exist a bit of quartz, or jasper, or flint, or obsidian, or any 
other sort of stone capable of being flaked. But there are 
volcanic as well as sedimentary rocks, which may be 
pounded or battered into shape. These same materials 

* Evans, Ancient Static Implements^ pp. 34, 35. Murdoch, Ninth An, 
Rep, Bur, Ethnol,^ pp. 287-89. Mason, Smith son, Rep,^ 1886, part i., pi. 
xxi. , figs. 92, 96. The largest cache of chipped stone implements ever dis- 
covered was found in a mound near Chilicothe, Ohio, by W. K. Moorehead. 
They are seven thousand in number, and weigh three tons and a half. Sett 
Moorehead, Primitive Man in Ohio^ New York, Putnam, fig. 35. 

* Man, Andaman Islanders^ London, 1883, Triibncr, p. 160. 


abound all over the world, even where there is abundance 
of flakable stone.' If the striking of one stone against 
another is as easy as breaking one stone with another, then 
the rudiments of stone pecking, as before suggested, are as 
old as those of chipping stone, and the hammer is as 
ancient as the flaker. 

The practical method of working among savages is to 
select the toughest bit of stone accessible for a hammer. 
Holding this in the right hand, between the thumb and two 
middle fingers, and placing the forefinger on the top, the 
workman administers quick, sharp blows at the rate of three 
hundred or more per minute. The hammer has an ex- 
cursion of three inches, more or less. At short intervals 
the worker brushes away the loosened material with a little 
broom of stiff fibres and begins again. At first, only 
common boulders were selected for hammers, but it did not 
take the ingenious ones long to discover that little pits on 
either side enabled the thumb and middle finger to relax 
their hold a little just as the blow was struck, in order to 
avoid injury by the concussion. So the conventional 
hammer stone was invented. Mr. McGuire says that after 
an hour's work with a tool without the " finger-pits," his 
arm grew very sore. The pecking of stone, among modern 
savages, reveals all the steps through which the art passed 
in its early evolution. In the Acorn region of California, 
the women take a common boulder for the nether mill- 
stone. Around the margin of the upper side they place a 
hopper of basketry, sometimes luting it fast with the pine- 
tree gum, sometimes holding it down with their feet, while 
they do the grinding with their hands. 

For a pestle these primitive millers use an elongated 
piece of hard porous rock, the corners of which have been 

' Recently Mr, Joseph D. McGuire, of Washington, has devoted two 
years to the study of the stone hammer and it§ various uses, with impor- 
tant results. J. D. McGuire, " The Stone Hammer," &c., Affi. Aitthropo^ 
logisti Washington, vol. iii. ; also by the same author **The Aboriginal 
Lapidary," id., vol. v. pp. 165-176. 


battered away by pecking. With this apparatus the 
milling begins. The constant beating on the nether stone 
with the pestle gradually excavates a bowl-shaped cavity, a 
shapeless mortar, as simple as it can be. There are nume- 
rous examples of apparatus of this elementary sort, in which 
the mortar is carved on the surface of a great stationary 
rock near some camp, and thither resorted one family after 
another to prepare their flour. 

But families, or, more properly speaking, clans and tribes 
in that grade of culture move from place to place. It 
would be necessary to have among the household effects a 
portable mortar. In the eastern portions of the United 
States great numbers of mortars are found that are 
extremely rude in shape. A piece of granite or sandstone, 
not over six inches thick and one foot across, was battered 
into an exceedingly rude outline on the outside, and hollowed 
out a few inches on the inside. The pestles are better shaped, 
being oftentimes quite cylindrical. A few examples are 
very heavy, and we are informed that they were suspended 
from the limb of a tree and kept ia motion with the two 
hands. It is just possible that these rude shallow mortars 
had basketry hoppers. Even in the Ohio valley, where some 
kinds of stone pecking were done with great skill, the 
mortars are still rude. But along the Pacific Coast of 
America, from Alaska to the Mexican States, the mortars 
were carved out with exquisite care. The TUngit Indians 
of South-eastern Alaska were especially clever with the 
stone hammer. A block of sandstone or serpentine or 
porous volcanic rock was hammered into a symmetrical 
bowl-shaped form on the outside, and hollowed out so as 
to leave a wall one inch or less in thickness. Upon the 
exterior of these, carved projections were left of considerable 

The pestles for these mortars were of the same materials. 
The fundamental form was bell-shaped, but in many 
examples the top is cut in the likeness of one of the 
totemic animals of the tribe. Other forms were used, but 


every one of them was produced simply by pounding one 
stone with another. Upon the surfaces of both mortars and 
pestles hundreds of little pitted marks are left, showing 
where the blows were struck. On the coast of California, 
about the Santa Barbara Islands, were great manufactories 
of mortars and pestles. Huge blocks of sandstone were 
quarried, pounded into form and then pecked out into the 
symmetrical shape of a great bowl. These were finished up 
on the outside and the inside with much care, and they 
were articles of trade throughout the neighbouring region. 

Further south, in Mexico and throughout Tropical 
America, mortars and pestles give place to metates and 
muUers. But these, where they are not mere slabs of gritty 
stone, slightly modified by pounding, are carefully pecked 
into shape with the hammer stone. Even those that are 
made with legs, and have their borders adorned with 
sculpture, are not exceptions. They are the product of the 
stone hammer alone, and were wrought out by incessantly 
pounding one piece of rock with another. Quite similar 
to these table-form metates are the stone chairs or stools 
seen frequently among archaeological collections from 
Middle America, and they were wrought out in the same 
shops. Their furrowed ornamentations are the work of 
stone picks, of hard material which could be easily re- 
pointed, now and then as occasion demanded. A more 
universal product of the stone hammer is the stone 
axe and celt and sledge. There are many edge tools in 
all European collections that went from the knapper's 
hands to the grindstone, and were gradually transformed 
from chipped implements into polished implements in 
the process of being worn out. This was necessary 
where excellent flint occurred, and better material was 
scarce. But in both Americas, and almost everywhere 
out of Europe, and in many parts of Europe, axes and 
celts were made by means of the stone hammer. This 
process of pecking-out axes is hinted at in the older 
writers, and Loskiel affirms that it required a lifetime 


frequently to fabricate a single piece. To determine 
the truth of these assertions, Mr. J. D. McGuire, of 
Ellicott City, Maryland, conducted a careful series of ex- 
periments at the Smithsonian Institution for the author. 
The results are given in a series of papers published by Mr. 
McGuire. Any ordinary grooved axe or celt could be 
produced in less than fifty hours of continuous work. A 
grooved axe of jadeite was wrought from the rough spall in 
eighty-six hours. But for the occurrence of a flaw in the 
material the axe would have been brought to an edge in one 
hundred hours. 

The examination of many hundreds of specimens reveals 
the process of the aborigines, which seemed to be somewhat 
like that of the sculptor. The workman looking over many 
hundreds of boulders or spalls sees one in which his 
imagination detects the outline of the celt or the axe desired. 
His motive is the same as that which has reigned in the 
minds of artisans from the beginning of industry, namely, 
to achieve the greatest result in the expenditure of the least 
effort. It is interesting to note how little labour will trans- 
form a pebble into a grooved axe, when the workman knows 
what he is about. His skilled eye detects at a glance the 
very best piece for a specific result, and after he has pecked 
away a few hours the metamorphosis is complete. Upon 
the surface of most objects of this class the marks of the 
hammer are left, frequently from an ornamental motive, 
and there is also oftentimes a large surface that Nature 
wrought. But the enormous amount of work done by the 
stone hammer does not appear in the museum, because the 
effects of the blows have been obliterated by polishing. 

Among the celts and axes seen in collections there are 
many that are too highly ornamented ever to have been 
much used. Objects of this kind are common especially from 
the West Indies. But they were made by the self-same pro- 
cess that produced the commonest axe, namely, by striking 
one stone against another hundreds of thousands of times. 
The old proverb, "A continual dropping wears away a 


Stone," must surely have been written of. the stone 

The stone hammer itself has had a curious history in this 
series of operations. Many hundreds of them are to be seen 
in the museums of the world. Schliemann mentions the 
finding of thousands of them without suspecting their 
function.' The simplest hammers are merely battered 
masses of stone, while the best of them are almost lenti- 
cular in shape, with pits on the sides and evidences of work 
over the entire rim. 

Artists of antiquity had recourse to the stone hammer as 
well as did the artisans. , 

There does not seem to be a habitable part of the world 
where the aborigines have not left their marks upon boul- 
ders, cliffs, standing stones, walls of caves, by means of this 
implement. The simplest process is the production of 
shallow lines in intaglio, portraying beasts and human beings 
and illegible figures. In places where men have been wont 
to congregate the surface of the rock has been gone over 
several times, until it is an inextricable confusion of etch- 
ings. The scribe or artist, as the case might be, simply took 
a pointed hard stone in his hand, and by means of a succes- 
sion of blows traced out a shallow writing or picture. Mr. 
Pickwick's famous inscription of Mr. Stumps's autograph 
was no doubt wrought after the same fashion. Innumerable 
savage carvings were cut in soapstone and other soft material 
by scratching, etching, cutting, and the like. But in all 
granular material there has been but one implement and 
one method, the easiest and the simplest, the implement 
being the stone hammer and the method that of a rapid 
succession of blows. 

Next in line of evolution in this class of work is a kind of 
low or flat relief produced by pounding away the intervening 
material and leaving the figure outstanding. It is seen in 
many rude Indian carvings, but in its perfection in the Maya 

^ Schliemann, quoted by McGuire, Am. Anthropologist ^ Washington, 
1893, vi. p. 314; vii. p. 358. 


inscriptions of Central America. Here the artist has in 
mind a certain symbol which has been painted on pottery 
or other material, and seeks to reproduce the same image 
in flat relief by pecking away the unnecessary stone. This 
kind of work was done by Mr. McGuire with great rapidity 
upon a block of tough lava, now in the United States 
National Museum. With stone hammers he first made the 
surface flat. Then having marked thereon with a bit of 
charcoal the Maya symbol, he, by means of pecking tools 

Fig. i4.- 

chipped to a point, removed the surplus stone. The con- 
stant wearing of the point demanded irequent renewal, but 
this was easily accomplished. The result was that in less 
than thirty hours he worked out of a rough block the rabbit 
symbol in flat relief. ArchKologists in their writings have 
frequently remarked upon the lack of square-cut incisions in 
American sculpture. This phenomenon is sufficiently ex- 
plained by the instrument. 

From this form of carving, common enough in both 
hemispheres, to high relief was only a matter of normal 

StoXE-WOKKlNG. 145 

growth. The processes were the same. There has not been 
found a sculpture in Mexico or Central America or in South 
America that was cut in any other way. The statuary 
was wrought after the same fashion. In the Old World it 
is not possible to speak with the same precision. Some of 
the more ancient sculptures of Egypt represent men stand- 
ing on platforms and pounding with stone hammers. This 
tool is capable of such work. No one knows who has not 
tried what results it will achieve. It is not necessary to 
introduce steel or adamant, as one born out of due time, to 
do the work of that faithful implement which stood by our 
race from the beginning. All the primitive sculptures of 
the world were wrought with the stone hammer alone. The 
early sculptures of Egypt, Babylonia, and India were not 
beyond its powers. Indeed, it would not be difficult to 
prove that the stone hammer was more capable of effecting 
these works than were the first efforts in bronze and iron. 

The modern stonecutter is a familiar object, with his 
white cap and apron, his tools of steel, which he holds 
lightly in his left hand and his wooden mallet wielded in 
his right. His prototype in savagery is not difficult to find. 

In many portions of the United States and without doubt 
elsewhere in the world, there are quarries of soft slate, 
serpentine, alabaster, steatite, and other materials. The 
aborigines were wont to quarry these substances and actually 
to carve them into form. The eastern Indians, finding a 
protruding mass of steatite, set themselves to cutting out 
a block large enough for a cooking-pot or pan, leaving a 
great deal for waste. These blocks were removed by means 
of long, wedge-shaped picks or chisels of quartz. Deep 
gashes were cut in from the top and sides until the piece 
could safely be removed with levers or wedges or heavy 
stone mauls. The pot was cut into shape with the same 
edge tool of quartz and not by pecking. The stonecutter 
did not hold his chisel in one hand and a mallet in the other, 
but seized the chisel in both hands and used it on the stone 
after the manner of an adze. In very many of the examples 



that were broken in the working these scarfs are visible in 
parallel rows, showing that the implement was about an inch 
wide at the edge, and could take off a chip from one to three 
inches in length. When the stonecutter's work was done 
on the vessels, the marks of his tools were obliterated by 
scraping and polishing. For scraping there was no end of 
sharp chips of flinty rocks, and the grainy sandstone would 
complete the smoothing process. 

The most beautiful stone-cutting done by modern savages 
is that of the Haida Indians of Queen Charlotte Islands, on 
the Pacific coast of British Columbia. They quarry a black 
slate, which is very soft at first, and this is really whittled 
into shape with knives having metal blades. There seems 
to be a difference of opinion as to the existence of any 
antique forms of this ware, owing to the difficulty of work- 
ing such materials with stone knives. Formerly the same 
designs were wrought of wood in the greatest abundance. 

Hearne remarks of the Indians in North-west Canada : 
" Their household furniture chiefly consists of stone kettles 
and wooden troughs of various sizes ; also dishes, scoops, 
and spoons, made of the bufialo or musk-ox horns. Their 
kettles are formed of a pepper-and-salt coloured stone ; and 
though the texture appears to be very coarse, and as porous 
as a drip-stone, yet they are perfectly tight, and will sound 
as clear as a China bowl. Some of those kettles are so large 
as to be capable of containing five or six gallons ; and though 
it is impossible these poor people can perform this arduous 
work with any other tools than harder stones, yet they are 
by far superior to any that I had ever seen in Hudson's Bay, 
every one of them being ornamented with neat mouldings 
round the rim, and some of the large ones with a kind of 
flute-work at each corner. In shape they were a long square, 
something wider at the top than bottom, like a knife-tray, 
and strong handles of the solid stone were left at each end 
to lift them up.'' ' 

The Eskimo still saw such hard stones as the pectolite, 

^ llQutncj/cur/tej^i ^c, London, 1795, Strahan, p. i68i 


which is placed among the jadoid materials for texture 
and temper. There are two ways of effecting this sawing. 
One piece of stone may be cut with a thin spall of the 
same or harder material, or the work may be done by means 
of sand and a soft stone on a splint of wood to carry it. The 
Eskimo also know how to bore a row of holes as quarrymen 
do, and split the material thus. 

The modern sand-saw, of soft iron, helped out by plenty 
of water and grit, is out of the question in savagery. But 
the principle was discovered by them that a very soft 
substance could cut a very hard one by means of sharp 
granules of a denser material. The application of water in 
the work has a great deal to do with the rapidity of the 
cutting. To keep the scarf clear of worn-out material a 
fresh supply beneath the carrier is quite necessary. Mr» 
McGuire gets by far his best results with sheets of cold*- 
hammered copper. The opinion that raw-hide and sand, 
either wet or dry, will cut stone needs confirmation. 
Experiments with such materials failed utterly in the 
Smithsonian experiment. 

Savages knew how to bore holes with stone, and how to 
perforate stone The perforator of stone was a long piece 
of carefully-chipped jasper or other hard material, in shape 
of an ordinary nail. For a grip a broader head was left at 
the butt-end. This could be held in the hand and worked 
by a reciprocating motion exactly after the manner of the 
awl or reamer. For the thousand and one uses to which 
an awl could be put, however, other substances, such as 
bone, horn, antler, and ivory were used. The stone reamer 
of very hard rock was excellent on soft rock. 

The simplest composite drill now in use among savages 
consists of a shaft of wood, into the lower end of which is 
inserted a point of stone, held in place by a seizing of raw- 
hide or sinews. This may be twirled between the palms of 
the hand. But the most effective method of boring stone is 
by means of the pump-drill, or the bow-drill, or the strap- 
drill, using not a hard point of stone or other material, but 


one of wood or bone, with plenty of sand. The process is 
well described by Mr. McGuire. Dr. Rau was partially suc- 
cessful in boring diorite. Mr. McGuire has made the pipe, 
the ceremonial axe, and the double conical perforation. He 
has, by means of the most primitive appliances and a little 
emery, reproduced in quartz crystal the bore made with the 
solid drill, and that with the delicate core standing in the 
middle. If with sand alone, and in the use of the bow-drill 
or pump-drill or strap-drill any savage artisan could perforate 
beads of jasper, chalcedony, or jade, that is now among the 
lost arts. 

" The Brazilians use ornaments of imperfectly crystallised 
quartz, from four to eight inches long, and about one inch 
in diameter. Hard as they are they contrive to drill a hole 
at each end, using for that purpose the pointed leaf-shoot of 
the large wild plaintain, with sand and water.'' ' 

This quotation from Sir John Lubbock has been oft re- 
peated, and the writer, after all he has been saying, is not 
going to deny the account. Certain it is that beads of very 
hard material and very small bore are common products of 
savage manufacture. But it must be admitted that, without 
emery, the author cannot do it, and all experiments to 
repeat the Brazilian processes with sand and water have so 
far failed at the Smithsonian Institution. 

Polishing and grinding stone were among the earliest, as 
they are now one of the latest, arts. The preparation of 
gems, the making of plate glass and ground glass, the grind- 
ing down and polishing of ornamental stones, are some of 
our most active modern industries. Many patents are still 
taken out for improvements in the art, and many hundreds 
of skilled labourers make their living in this way. Now the 
first grinders of stone are usually relegated to the neolithic 
period of history ; with what reason it is difficult to say. 

Probably no discovery is older than the fact that friction 
would wear away wood or bone, or even stone. Practically 
the modern savage uses stone to grind other substances, and 

* Lubbock, Prehx, Times^ New York, 1878, p. 561. 


also grinds one stone with another. The North American 
Indian woman keeps near her side a bit of whetstone, on 
which she sharpens her bone needles and bodkins and 
crimping tools. Her companion is similarly provided with 
whetstones for repairing the edge of the implements in his 
crafts. He also uses sandstone, on which he has chipped a 
little groove to rub down the shafts of his arrows, and other 
woodwork. Stone is his sandpaper, scraper, plane, spoke- 
shave, and polisher in one. The potter, after building up 
her vessel by coiling, rubs away every mark of the fingers 
from the surfaces with grinding and polishing stones. The 
woodworker, having chipped out a dish, or a sculpture with 
adzes and chisels of stone, obliterates the scars by means of 
a grinding stone. The cook, noticing that in the. grinding 
of food both upper and nether millstone give to each other 
a polished surface that must needs be removed with a stone 
hammer, undesignedly invented the process of all subse- 
quent gem-cutting and stone-polishing. 

The polishing of one stone upon another is, however, 
the characteristic art of neolithic times. In the course of 
grinding the edge of an axe or chisel a polish would be 
communicated. But many hundreds of these implements 
are polished beautifully over their entire surface. Some of 
them have the brilliancy of a mirror. They are not only 
ground, but they have been polished by rubbing down with 
buckskin and fine powder of some kind. 

Just a word should be said in this connection also about 
the polishing that comes from use. Upon the surfaces of 
many of the hoe blades coming from the Mississippi valley, 
there is a lustre or nacre that was not designedly added. It 
would seem that the mere act of using had enabled the 
implement to take on a vitreous glaze. Furthermore, pipes, 
battle-axes, adzes, axes, chisels that have been used a long 
time, acquire a gloss and brilliancy that cannot be conferred 
at once. The greasy hand of the savage, seldom washed, 
also communicates a beautiful surface to shell, ivory, and 
stone implements. 


Among the stone implements in New Zealand collections 
may be seen the Jioanga^ or grinding stone, oval in shape, 
formed of coarse sandstone, with a hollow oval groove in its 
upper surface. In these, implements were ground down 
with the aid of water. 

As the natives performed the tedious process of shaping 
their implements, at which they spent most of their time, 
they sang a song of first voice, second voice, and chorus. 
The first voice asks what the grinding of the stone is for. 
The second replies that it is to shape the tool, to sharpen it, 
and describes the flying of the chips, the splitting of the 
stone, &c. The chorus encourages the workman, urging 
him to continue his work, with an appeal to the goddess of 

In the service of this goddess the Polynesians were indeed 
faithful. Their material was extremely hard. None in the 
world employed for implements or weapons was more re- 
fractory. It was wrought into useful and grotesque forms, 
and received a surfacing that was truly remarkable. In our 
day examples command fabulous prices both on account of 
the material and the skilled labour bestowed upon them. 

in speaking of the lapidary art among savages it is 
necessary to include all those materials which have been 
required to take the place and do the work of stone. This 
is quite essential in studying the arts of those island areas 
where stones for chipping or for grinding are absent. For 
instance, there were very skilful natives among the Ba- 
hamas, but they made their chisels and adze blades of 
shell. In a similar plight were many of the Pacific 
islanders, but the Tridacna, the Margarita, and other mol- 
luscs, were at hand with their kind offices. " Among the 
materials upon which primitive man set his eye, shells of 
molluscs are not to be overlooked. Everywhere within 
the range of these creatures their soft parts afforded ready 
and most nutritious food, and the hard parts were the 
servants of innumerable wants. The early men not only 

' Cf, A. Shand, J, Pofynes. Sor., Wellington, 1892, vol. i. p. 82. 


used shells for dishes and tools and art purposes, but 
wrought in them; and the shells in turn wrought on the 
men,. suggesting forms and uses, and touching the fancy by 
their beauty of colour, and even their power of music." * 

The shell could be chipped, or sawed, or ground, or 
polished, or perforated like a stone. The same is true of 
ivory, whales* teeth, fossil tusks, antler, and the hard shells 
of some seeds, and even nuggets of copper and iron. All of 
these may be classed with the material of the lapidary, 
upon which he exercised his ingenuity and secured his 
patents. They taxed his patience and evoked his faculties, 
and were turned into the currents of the world's great 
industries in very ancient times before the historian had 
learned to write. .... 

* Holmes, "Art of Shell in the Ancient Americaas," Second Aft» 
Rep. Bur, Ethmly Washington, 1883, pp. 179-305, pi. xxi.-lxxvii. 



** This earthen jar 
A touch can make, a touch can mar ; 
• • • • t 

To-morrow the hot furnace flame 
Will search the heart and try the frame, 
And stamp with honour or with shame, 
These vessels made of clay." 

Longfellow, Keramos, 

Porcelain is the glorification of pottery, ^f the processes 
of making and decorating it, and of the purposes for which 
it is created. If, then, we are able to find the origins of 
modern pottery in primeval times, and the survival of those 
times in the ware of our own day, there is shown an un- 
broken genealogy between sun-dried vessels of the first 
ceramists and the most delicate work of Worcester, Sevres, 
Meissen, Hochst, and Berlin. It might be refreshing to 
the reader, before making on foot this tedious journey to 
the humble dwellings of the first potters, to look over the 
works of Brogniart, Jacquemart, Birch, Bowes, Gamier, and 
the South Kensington handbooks. No harm, but much 
inspiration, would also be experienced by spending a day or 
two among the brickmakers, the terra-cotta works, the old- 
fashioned fabricators of cheap stone ware, the potteries 
located here and there in all lands, or, if occasion permits, 
to take in the finer works of Staffordshire, Sevres, Meissen, 

Berlin, or of Trenton and Cincinnati. There will be no 



need in our visit to the earliest ceramists to speak of 
earthenware and stoneware and porcelain. There will be 
plain ware and lustred ware, but glazes and enamels that 
are not purely accidental will be unknown. Clay there 
will be in abundance, but the artisans will not be quite so 
particular about the hydrated silicate of alumina and pure 
white sand and chalk and felspar and calcined bones and 
potash. Neither will they require such costly machinery 
for grinding the clay and the flinty ingredients until a 
paste as fine as flour dough can be made. The washings 
and settling, the mixing and weighing, will not be so 
scrupulously done. You will see no potter's wheel, nor 
any machinery like unto it, nor any device that at first 
sight will remind one of it. Yet, the ends achieved thereby 
will be reached. The primitive artisans will both mould 
and model, though in quaint ways. The modern potter 
invented neither moulding nor modelling. Engobe or slip 
will be applied to the surface of the vessels, and dainty 
figures will be painted thereon, though it must be freely 
admitted that the paint-shop does not contain so many nor 
such lasting colours. No matter, all our art is the lineal 
descendant of theirs through many vicissitudes which con- 
stitute the charming story of the ceramic industry. 

In the very earliest graves and camp-sites no fragments 
of pottery occur. If our first parents were makers thereof, 
we should know it, because this most brittle of human 
works is also among the most enduring. Fire -making 
devices were invented before pottery, because all of it 
was effected by means of fire, if we except sun-dried bricks 
and lamp -stoves. The bow and the arrow, the spear 
and the fish-hook, are older. They are found in older 
graves. Can it be that this art came in with the grinding 
of food ? At any rate, it long antedated Homer, for the 
potter's wheel is mentioned by him (II. xviii. 600). The 
simpler hand epoch antedates all books and writings, and 
there are many, many tribes of uncivilised peoples on the 
earth making beautiful ware, who do not read at all. The 


Lake-dwellers had pottery, and so had the Mound-Builders, 
and the people of very ancient Troy. In Peru beautiful 
specimens come from the oldest graves, and over the caftons 
of Colorado, and especially of its tributaries, hundreds of 
complete vessels, and millions of fragments, are scattered 
similar to that made near by to-day. 

We need not stop to inquire about the first person in the 
world who fabricated a clay vessel, nor try to conjure up 
the manner in which the invention was made. Clay is the 
most docile of all materials. It has its limitations, but 
compared with stone, bone, horn, wood, hide, fibre, and 
so forth, how easy it is to work — so pliable, and yet so 
superior to all the above-named substances in the fire. The 
first man who trod in clay must have noticed that he 
had made a pan impervious to water. The earliest cooks 
put hot stones into tight baskets to boil their food. Soap- 
stone pots did tolerably well if the walls were left thick 
enough. But, just as soon as people had fire, became 
sedentary, ate farinaceous food, the pot came to be born. 
And in cold regions, the use of fire would, as we shall see, 
compel the invention of pottery. 

In the last and simplest analysis, sun-dried adobe or 
bricks are the most primitive things made of clay. They 
are masses of rude paste worked up by hand, not at first in 
moulds, and dried in the sun. 'In all rainless regions of the 
globe they exist. In Babylon, in Egypt, in Peru, in 
Mexico, it is the same story. Given the material and the 
arid climate, and the thing is done, by that universal law, 
in human affairs as in nature, of following the lines of least 
resistance. This may not be the oldest treatment of the 
material since climate is a ruling factor, but it is the least 
complicated method of handling it. 

The next simplest process is to be found in vogue in our 
day among certain Eskimo tribes on the tundras about the 
peninsula of Alaska. These cunning people, when most 
spread out, occupied the northern shores of America from 
Southern Labrador all the way around to Kadiak Island in 

THE POTTKR's art. 

^ ^ 

Alaska. Almost everywhere they utilised fire only in the 
lamp-stove. Forests being absent, and even drift-wood 
being scarce, their only resource has been to burn the 
blubber or fat of the seal, whale, walrus, and other animals 
that abounded in that area. There was no lack of fuel. 
Of the mosses and vegetable fibres that came in their way 
they fabricated the wicks. For a lamp they took a slab of 
soapstone about two inches thick, straight along one margin, 
and curved on the other. This was excavated to form a 
shallow dish, in which the blubber was put, and the wick. 
The Eskimo knew both the firesticks and the flint and 
pyrites method of exciting fire, so it was never difficult to 
make a blaze. Now, there are in the west, regions where 
no soapstone exists of which to make lamp-stoves, so the 
ever quick-witted housewives knead clay with blood and 
hair, and form it into a thick shallow dish or bowl with the 
hand, and after drying it only a little, proceed to make 
thereof a true lamp-stove. The constant use of this simple 
device hardens it by burning, so that there is no need of 
firing the ware at all. Nothing save a sun-dried brick could 
be simpler. The first real potter seems in this way to 
have been a fabricator of lamps and stoves. Now and 
then rings are incised around these objects, commencing 
already in the most simple manner the process of decora- 
tion. No rims, nor handles, nor legs, nor bases, nor paint, 
nor modelled ornaments occur. We are behind the history 
of the art. 

True pottery, hardened in the fire, if we are to trust 
the testimony of the living and the dead, is and was 
confined within certain boundaries. Within these, since 
clay is almost universally distributed, the fictile art was 
generally practised, though the Australians and the Polyne- 
sian race have always been ignorant of it. They cook in 
open fires and pits, and drink from gourds. No doubt at 
first the art was stimulated by the absence of other material. 
In South-western California, where the potstone was abun- 
dant, great numbers of globular ollas are yet found, some 


of them capable of holding several gallons, and scraped 
down very thin. The light and tough boiling basket also 
no doubt deterred many other migratory tribes from this 
method of cooking. The geographic distribution of the 
art will be found amenable to those natural and mental 
laws whose co-operation we are tracing. 

At the present moment there is no other spot on the 
earth where the primitive potter can be studied to such 
advantage. as in the south-western portion of the United 
States, in the drainage of the Upper Rio Grande and the 
Colorado river. There, at the present time, are tribes 
belonging to the Keresan, the Tewan, the Zuiiian, the 
Shoshonean, and the Athapascan stock. Whatever their 
ancestors may have done in other habitats for vessels, here 
they have all learned to make pottery and to build adobe 
walls. The Navajo may perhaps be excepted from the 
wall -builders, dwelling in hogans with his cousin, the 
Apache, and both of them migrants from the Mackenzie 
drainage. To this workshop let us go and sit at the feet of 
the primitive artisan. 

Mr. Gushing, who has spent many years of his life among 
these Pueblos, says, "There is no other section of the 
United States where the potter's art was so extensively 
practised, where it reached such a degree of perfection, 
as within the limits of these ancient Pueblos. ... In 
these regions water not only occurs in small quantities, but 
it is attainable only at points separated by great distances, 
hence to the Pueblos the first necessity of life is the 
transportation and preservation of water. The skins and 
paunches of animals could be used in the effort to meet 
this want with but small success, as the heat and the aridity 
of the atmosphere would in a short time render water thus 
kept unfit for use, and the membranes once empty would be 
liable to destruction by drying." ' 

In the early times the Zuni used large sections of reed, 
and now a common sight is a water-carrier employing a 

' Cushing> Fourth An, Rep, Bur, EthfioLy Washington, 1886, p. 482. 


gourd or a basketry bottle, lined like the ark of Moses, 
within and without with pitch.' 

As to the supply of material. Holmes says : "Nature was 
lavish in her supply of the material needed. Suitable clay 
could be found in nearly every valley, both in well-exposed 
strata and in the sediment of streams. I have noticed that 
after the passage of a sudden storm over the mesa country, 
and the rapid disappearance of the transient flood, the pools 
of the arroyos would retain a sediment of clay two or 
three inches thick, having a consistency perfectly suited to 
the hand of the potter. It would not be difficult, however, 
to find the native clay among the sedimentary formations 
of the neighbourhood. Usually the material has been very 
fine grained, and, when used without coarse tempering, the 
vessels have an extremely even and often a conchoidal 
fracture.^' ^ This clay from the arroyos, or from its natural 
beds, the women of the Pueblo gather and transport on 
their backs to their workshops under the open sky, either 
on the mesa or on the housetops. It is further washed 
carefully to exclude foreign bodies, and to render it pliable 
to the artist's hand. 

We read a great deal about the employment of what the 
French call degraissant in working clay, that the walls of 
the vessel are rendered stronger and less liable to crack 
thereby. Be that as it may, the Pueblo woman mixes sand 
or pounded potsherds with her clay. In the ware of the 
Mound Builders pulverised shells, old pottery, mica, and 
other tempering materials were employed. The pottery 
of the southern half of Africa is formed of clay found near 
ant-hills, in which case the mixing is done by the little 
creatures. The compounding of these materials is not a 
haphazard aflair. Too much or too little of the tempering 
material would be disastrous. The shells must be carefully 
burned previously, or the fragments would be calcined in 
the firing, and afterwards slake. Gushing says that the 

' Fourth An, Rep, Bur, Ethnol,,, p. 491, fig. 520. 

* Holmes, Fourth An, Rep, Bur, EthnoUy Washington, 1886, p. 267. 


quality of the clay is not uniform throughout the Pueblo 
region, and to this cause he attributes the fact that in some 
places " fragments of the greatest variety in colour, shape, 
size, and finish of ware occur in abundance.'^ In other 
spots where the architecture of the houses is equally well 
executed, potsherds are coarse, irregular in curvature, badly 
decayed, and exceptionally scarce.* This is another con- 
firmation of the principle of mutual relation between the 
inventive faculty and the natural resources upon which it 

The potter is now ready to construct her vase, and in its 
edification employs one or all of three methods, modellings 
mouldings and coiling. We should waste time in discussing 
which is oldest among these three processes. They will 
be discussed in the sequence named because that is the order 
of their importance in the region under consideration. 
Just as the Eskimo woman takes a lump of prepared clay 
and with her fingers models her stove-lamp, the Pueblo 
woman and savage women nearly all over the world 
model vessels from the lump, model also the rims and bases 
and handles and raised decorations of ware made in the 
other methods mentioned. This very earliest and rudest 
act of clay-working remains and is glorified in the sculptor's 

Moulding pottery is a common method at present, and it 
must have been practised most extensively in former and 
in ancient times. All over the United States bits of ware 
are picked up on whose surfaces are deep furrows and nodes 
whose true structure is declared by making casts of these 
markings in plaster, clay, or wax. The deeper portions 
saved from attrition are clearly thrown up, and reveal the 
presence of basketry, textile, or netting. In many cases, to 
be mentioned later, these impressions are ornaments produced 
by means of textile substances. But the ninety and nine 
were made in nets or baskets or bags. In such examples 
the markings are on the outside.^ It is just as easy, how- 

Cushing, Fourth An, Rep, Bur, Ethnol., p. 493. ^ Ibid,, p. 484, fig. 501. 

THE potter's art. 159 

ever, to work the other way and build the vessel on the 
outside of the mould, in some cases a gourd, as in Arkansas 
pottery, in others a basket, as in Pueblo examples. Further 
south, in Mexico and in Ancient Peru, modelling and 
moulding were more commonly practised than on the Rio 
Grande. The Mound Builders also had certain forms which 
they achieved by these processes. The Guadalajara potter 
of our own day understands perfectly this art of moulding. 
He seems to be the cleverest artist in the world, producing 
portraits and animal groups with marvellous exactness by 
means of spatulas of hard wood, a brush or two, a bit of tin 
and stones for rubbing smooth. He does not model en bloc 
as one of our artists does, but moulds and models his man 
first and then dresses him by laying on the parts. He 
appears like one who has taken a lesson or two in modern 
sculpture and is trying also to hold on to his old traditions, — 
with marvellous cleverness, however, for he never saw a 
throwing wheel or a studio. 

It is very doubtful whether true casting was ever 
practised by savage peoples. And some writers forgetting 
that the primitive ceramist could supplement moulding 
by modelling, seeing on the inside of vessels the imprint 
of natural or artificial objects have assumed that the clay 
was plastered all over the inside or outside of the mould 
and that the latter was removed always by burning. There 
may have been instances of this, but the savage woman 
thought too much of her net or basket or gourd to destroy 
it so ruthlessly. 

The third process of building up pottery was far the most 
common, at least in the Western Continent. It is a kind of 
potter's wheel of a slow velocity, only the hand travels 
round and round instead of the clay. **The ancient Pueblo 
potter rolled out long, slender fillets, or ropes of clay, vary- 
ing in width and thickness to suit the size and character of 
the vessel to be constructed. They were usually, perhaps, 
from one fourth to one half an inch in thickness. The 
potter began by taking the end of a single fillet between 


the fingers and proceeded to coil it up on itself, gradually 
forming a disc. At first the fillets overlapped only a little, 
but as the disc grew large and was rounded upward to form 
the body of the vessel the imbrication became more pro- 
nounced. The fillet was placed obliquely, and was exposed 
on the exterior side to probably one half of its width. Strip 
after strip of the clay was added, the ends being carefully 
joined, so that the continuity might not be broken until the 
vessel was completed The rim generally consisted of a 
broad strip thickened a little at the lip and somewhat re- 

curved. The exterior imbricated edges were carefully pre- 
served, while those on the inner surface were totally 
obliterated, first by pressure, and finally by smoothing 
down with an implement or with the fingers, imprints of the 
latter being frequently visible. So thoroughly were the 
fillets pressed down and welded together that the vessels 
seldom fracture more readily along the lines of junction 
than in other directions." ' 

The suggestion of this peculiar mode of building up a 

dish was doubtless given by coiled basketry. In the Chapter 

on Textiles in this work the whole process will be minutely 

described, and as both arts are confined to the sphere of 

' Hulmes, Feiirlh An. lit}- Bur. Elhnol., p. 274. figs. 217, ziS. 

THE potter's art. i6i 

woman's work, there will be no difficulty in seeing how she 
could coil in one case as well as in the other. Indeed, the 
Havasupai Indians put a thin lining of clay inside the 
basket trays by means of which they winnow their grass 
seeds and parch them with hot stones. Gushing thinks that 
they actually started their coiled ware on the bottom of a 
basket. Either the outside or the inside of the bowl would 
serve the purpose.* 

A precisely similar process of coiled work is described by 
Man among the Nicobarese, and Atkinson among the New 
Caledonians, both of which peoples use some device to 
facilitate the turning of the work. The Nicobarese start 
the coiling on a lump of clay moulded in the bottom of a 
dish supported on a pad-ring, and the New Caledonians 
make theirs on the outside of a roundish pebble. On this 
they put a small dab as a beginning ; round this the coils of 
clay are wound and the pot built up. As the under side of 
the stone is roundish it becomes a natural primitive potter's 

The former is preferable, because after the walls have been 
built up for some distance, the same basket serves as a 
support and primitive potter's wheel. Mr. Cushing remarks 
on this ingenious discovery that the fabrication of large 
vessels thereafter was no longer effected by the spiral method 
exclusively. "A lump of clay, hollowed out, was shaped 
how rudely so ever on the bottom of the basket [moulding] 
or in the hand [modelling], then pressed in a hemispherical 
basket bowl and stroked until pressed outward to conform 
with the shape, and to project a little above the edges of its 
temporary mould [moulding], whence it was built up spirally 
until the desired form had been attained [coiling], after 
which it was smoothed by scraping." 3 

* Gushing, Fourth An. Rep, Bur, Ethnol.y p. 497, tig. 524, and p. 500, 
lig. 529. 

- E. H. Man, ** Nicobar Pottery, "y. Anthrop, Inst,, vol. xxiii. pp. 21-271 
I pi. J. J. Atkinson, " New Caledonian Pottery," iV/., p. 90. 

3 Cushing, Fourth An, Rep, Bur, Ethnol.^ p. 499, figs. 526, 527, 528, 

529, 530. 



Any one who is clever may follow this description by 
using either artistes clay or paste from the pottery. In the 
building up of the vessel the workman has certain decorative 
motives in mind of which mention will be made presently, 
and a portion of these may be realised in the treatment of the 
coil. It should be previously fixed in mind, however, that 
in most cases all traces of the coils are to be obliterated either 
when the clay is soft, by means of little paddles of gourd or 
shell or pottery or wood, or they are subsequently rubbed 
away with fine grained polishing stones. 

In addition to all this smoothing and scraping and rubbing 
the potter of the Pueblos was acquainted with slip, which 
was really very fine clay thinned with water and applied as a 
wash, previously to decoration with colour. 

At this point, indeed, the fineness, the form, and the 
finish of ware becomes differentiated by the functions which 
it has to perform, whether it will have to go to the spring 
and become a vehicle, to stand in the house and be a re- 
ceptacle of ever-needed water, whether it be the storehouse 
for grain and foods, a vessel of dishonour in the cooking pot, 
a dish for serving food, or a vessel of honour in the work of 
art, or the sacred meal bowl. Abundance of fragments all 
over the world attest that the fire was often applied to the 
rude piece, with no other decorations than a few scratches 
with a pointed stick. But the primitive potter, as we know 
her, was not satisfied with this for noble uses. 

In the first place, the student, looking at a very great 
collection like that in Washington, notices that untarnish 
ware ranges 'in colour from nearly white and grey and light 
creamy yellow to red and brown and jet black. This is 
owing, in the first place, to the selection of the clay, and to 
the natural colour imparted by clays in the different locali- 
ties. The burning also has to do with the body colour, but 
more of that anon. On the authority of Holmes, " reds 
and browns result from the presence of iron, which may 
have been oxidised in burning, or the red oxides may have 
been used in rare, cases as colouring matter in kneading the 

THE potter's art. 1 63 

clay. The surface is often lighter than the mass ; a con- 
dition probably resulting from colouring matter in the clay, 
which is destroyed on the surface and remains unchanged 
within. In the south the colours of the paste are often 
slightly reddish or yellowish in hue. It is notable that a 
small percentage of the ware of all localities is red." * 

Brick-red is the rule in Peru and common among the sacred 
pottery of Mexico. That of the mounds is a dirty brown 
or dark grey, with a sprinkling of red, and each area has its 
characteristic colour. Both the texture and the shade of 
fragments discovered in various places have their say in 
deciding concerning the status of the makers. Indeed, 
among American archaeologists and ethnologists who have 
been making the map of the Northern Continent according 
to tribes, the limits of certain textures of pottery fragments 
have been useful in determining boundaries. 

The forms of primitive pottery are an ever-pleasing sur- 
prise to the archaeologist and the technographer. Of course, 
if a bowl or dish or pot or jar or vase be moulded inside or 
outside of a basket or gourd, the shape is pre-ordained up to 
the point where the work has to be constricted or gathered in. 
There is the dividing line where the artist has to withdraw 
the mould and proceed alone. In modelling the rest of the 
jar or in building by coiling she has got to imitate natural 
objects or those fabricated from other materials. Of these 
there are abundance in the endless shapes of gourds and 
shells and horn and wood and bark and basketry." ^ 

The causes of modified forms, after the primitive idea has 
been adopted, have been tabulated by Holmes : — 

" Incapacity of the material to assume or retain form. 

" Incapacity of the artisan. 

" Changes in the methods or processes of manufacture. 

** Changes of environment. 

" Changes of use. 

* Op, ciL p. 269. 

^ Compare Holmes, Fourth An* AV/., ^c, figs. 210-216 ; 466-473. 



" Lack of use. 

" Influenci^ of iievv or exotic forms. 

" To enhance useful ntss. 

" To please the fancy for the beautiful or tlie grotesque," 

' Holmes, Fourth An. Rep. Bur. Elhiiol., ii[i. 450-457, 

THE potter's art. 1 65 

Most of these are easily understood. If, however, the 
reader is unacquainted with the poor resources of the primi- 
tive potter, he will scarcely realise what a toilsome journey 
it is across the top of a jar after it begins to narrow until 
the rim is reached. 

For some of the older pieces of flat jars taken from the 
ruined Pueblos fabulous prices have been paid, on account 
of their rarity and the great difficulty in building them up. 
Indeed, there are some things clay cannot do. The wood- 
worker, or the basket-maker, or Nature herself pronounces 
a word, gives expression to a formal thought, in presence of 
the potter ; the latter repeats it as best she can. After all 
she is a novice, and her imitations display her limits. The 
composition and resolution of her desires, the patterns 
before her, the limitations of her material and the effects of 
environment, account for all ceramic forms. 

The ornamentation of primitive pottery was effected by 
engraving the surface, by adding parts and by colouring. 
According to Holmes, the sources of decorative motives 
were : — 

" I. Suggestions of features of natural utensils and 

** 2. Suggestions of features of artificial utensils or 

" (a) Functional, as handles, legs, bands, perforations, &c. 

'* (b) Structural, as the coil, seam, stitch, plait, twist, &c. 

" 3. Suggestions from accidents in construction, as marks 
of the fingers, of implements, of moulds, &c. 

" 4. Suggestions of ideographic features or pictorial 
delineations.'' ^ 

These primary suggestions are afterward modified by the 
natural law of least effort and, survival according to the 
methods governing change of form. The aesthetic sense 
begins to assert itself before the vase is finished. Very 

' Holmes, Fourth An. Rep. Bur. Ethnol.^ p. 453. Illustrations of 
these, id., p. 454, seq., figs. 475-479- 


pleasing effects are produced in Pueblo pottery on the 
unchanged surface of the coiled ware by pinching the coils 
regularly in accordance with some pre-ordained plan, by the 
finger-nails, the finger-tips, or with pointed sticks, after the 
fashion of the good housewife decorating the edge of a pie. 
In Holmes's work upon the pottery of the ancient villages of 
Tusayan is figured a vase, belonging to the Hemenway 
collection, which seems to me to be certainly the most 
beautiful specimen of rude aboriginal pottery in the world.* 
The coils are indented and left plain in such a manner as 
to cover the whole surface with triangles in light and dark 
shading. No colour has been applied ; no tool but a 
woman's delicate fingers has touched the gracious surface. 
It is a brilliant recitation in the old-time ceramics, an 
example of fingering which all lovers of art behold with 
pleasure, and conviction that in the stone age men and 
women were under the spell of the beautiful. 

It will be noted that the feminine gender is used 
throughout in speaking of aboriginal potters. This is 
because every piece of such ware is the work of woman's 
hands. She quarried the clay, and like a patient beast of 
burden bore it home on her back. She washed it and 
kneaded it and rolled it into fillets. These she wound 
carefully and symmetrically until the vessel was built up. 
She further decorated and burned it and wore it out in 
household drudgery. The art at first was woman's. 

The Caribs are very skilful potters. The manner of their 
working is precisely like that of the Pueblo people of the 
United States, only the Caribs commence the work by 
laying out a flat circular sheet of clay on a small piece of 
board ; the rest of the material is rolled out between the 
palms of the hands into long cylindrical pieces as thick as 
a man's thumb. One of these rolls is laid round the edge 
of the foundation so as to stand up like the rim of a tray. 
This is made solid, smoothed up, and other rolls added 
until the whole is complete. Colours and glazing are done 

' Fourth An, Rep, Btir, Eihnoh^ p. 297, fig. 253. 


with vegetable dyes and certain barks, burnt and ground 
and mixed with the clay, give to the ware a black colour. 

The Dinka tribes make pottery off-hand. Handles are 
wanting in nearly all the pottery of Central Africa ; the 
exterior is usually marked with incised lines, which afford 
a rough surface to the bearer^s hands.^ The negroid in- 
habitants of New Guinea are governed by the same rules. 
The water-jars are globular and as symmetrical in form as 
the pretty little ollas that come from Chiriqui. The 
women carry them on the shoulder supported by one hand, 
and not on the head as do their African congeners. 

Among the Andamanese, both men and women make 
pottery at present. A clay, unmixed with other substances, 
is used, found only in a few places, and there the work is 
carried on. The tools employed are a pointed stick, an 
Area shell, and a kneading board. The clay is first cleaned 
of stones and other foreign bodies, washed and kneaded to 
a proper consistency. Rolls about fifteen inches long and 
one half-inch thick are then made, and the pot is built up 
by coiling one of these after another, the inequalities of 
surface being removed by the shell, and the surface 
ornamented with wavy, checked, or striped designs by 
means of the pointed stick. The pot is then dried very 
carefully in the sun and over the fire. When it is 
sufficiently hardened, it is baked thoroughly by placing 
burning pieces of wood both inside and around the vessel. 
It is then allowed to cool and is considered ready for use. 
With good management a pot is ordinarily fit for use by 
the close of the day on which it is made. They are quite 
uniform in shape, and vary in size from that of a cocoanut 
shell to a capacity of two gallons or more.^ When needed 
for travelling, pots are fitted in a light wicker frame of 
bamboo like a conserved ginger jar. 3 

' Schweinfurth, Aries Africattae^ London, 1875, Sampson Low, tab. i, 
fig. 6. 
- Man, Andaman Islanders^ London, 1883, Triibner, p. 154. 
3 Ibid,^ p. 179. 


To any one who has traced his name in the sand or 
pressed a seal on wax it will occur how the first ceramists 
engraved their ware. Scarification of the whole surface was 
and is practised universally. Modigliani figures such a vase 
from Nias ; ^ and one cannot go amiss for examples in any 
part of the world. Indeed, the same process has become 
a craze both in pottery and wall decoration in civilised 
countries. Even these patternless scratches are frequently 
quite decorative, and they lead quickly to geometric 
patterns, endless in variation and instructive in their 

A study of aboriginal textile processes is absolutely 
essential to a correct understanding of the leading strings 
which the primitive designer followed in working her way 
out of plainness into most refined combinations. There 
was no difficulty in accomplishing this, since women also 
everywhere invented the textile art. Diagonal and diaper 
weaving in basketry or matting were revelations to the 
imagination of the potter. Her first movement away from 
straight lines and square corners, which she practised as a 
weaver, was toward triangles and herring-bone and an 
endless variety of geometric forms on the softer material. 
In the former, she was bound by the rigidity of her 
filaments ; in the latter, her hand had no such limita- 

A little further on, the study of form and colour on 
painted ware will enable the reader to follow this transfer 
certainly, even into more modern and higher art life. 
The shifting of textile patterns to pottery was effected in 
two ways, by freehand tracing with a pointed instrument 
and by stamping, that is, by printing designs carved on 
wood, by pressing natural objects on the surface, or by 
pressing textile work on the clay. 

Tracing or etching on pottery with any sort of pointed 
tool seems to have been a necessity with the oldest of 
potters, It is difficult to find fragments that have not been 

f Un viaggio /'// Nias^ MHano, 

THE potter's art. 1 69 

SO treated. Work of this sort is freehand, however, and in 
seeking to reproduce the geometric lines on textiles the 
novice errs, comes short, and finally gets lost or bewildered, 
doing the thing that is easiest. Many of the designs of this 
class on ancient ware are only the shreds and distorted 
remnants of older patterns that once had meaning. 

Printing began with the impressions of the nails and the 
markings on the finger-tips. This was quickly followed, 
however, by deftly laying bits of string or some other textile 
object or surfaces of natural objects upon the soft ware 
regularly. And this suggested the making of stamps. If 
cut in relief or constructed by attaching bits of wood, &c., 
to a plain surface, the design would be intaglio. If the 
pattern were simply cut into the block or stamp the figures 
would be in relief like the image on a pound of butter. 
All of these methods were employed in savagery. 

Quite in advance of this marking on the surface was the 
creation of decorations in relief by modelling. Nothing 
could be simpler than the first efforts. The pristine 
modellers in clay were like children playing with putty 
or wax, or making mud pastry. They simply took a little 
surplus material and, working it into familiar form, luted it 
on the side of the vessel, where it remained permanently 

These simple elements were ready at once to modify their 
forms by the methods already laid down, to combine in 
patterns innumerable, and to become the alphabet of a 
language which has been spoken by nearly all the races of 
men. It is really a species of overlaying. The textile 
worker found out a dozen ways of adding feathers, shells, 
and other pretty objects by sewing, and the potter with a 
little wet clay repeats the process. 

The Pueblo potter, however, was not fond of overlaying. 
Her work is in this regard severely plain, since she gets her 
embellishment through surface etching and colour. To this 
list must be added the plain Chiriqui ware, all Eastern 

' Holmes, Fourth Aiu Rep. Bur. Elhuol.^ p. 283, figs. 233-238. 


American, and much that comes from Africa, the Malay 
region, Fiji, and even the older wares of China, Japan, and 

The Mound Builders of the Mississippi Valley, the 
Mexicans, the Central Americans, and West Indians, the 
South Americans especially, developed methods and types 
of added ornament that are quite remarkable. They not 
only combine bosses and fillets, and coils and scrolls in 
harmonious grouping, but they ventured out into sculpture, 
commencing with the crude and grotesque, and ending with 
genuine portraiture of men and animals. These are so 
faithfully executed at times that the naturalist has no 
difficulty in naming the species. Vegetable forms are 
often copied in the body of the ware itself, but rarely are 
vegetable forms luted on as decoration. 

Animal forms are combined, and monstrosities produced, 
but there is little dramatic grouping to be seen, though 
there is, especially in Central American ware, abundance of 
animal life in action. The monkey is an especial favourite 
for this class of modelled decoration on vases. 

By examining a large series of pieces from any region the 
student is able to mark the decay of gross forms, corre- 
sponding to what Max Miiller has termed phonetic decay 
in speech. Upon this vase, near its mouth, sits in lifelike 
pose a frog, a monkey, or a bird. In the next, the image is 
not quite so plain, and as the eye ranges along the series the 
creature seems to be sinking into the material until a little 
boss or two on the surface for eyes or ears or crest, marks 
the spot where the full image ought to be, a kind of short- 
hand, standing first for letters and then for whole words. 
And this may raise the question which cannot be settled 
here, namely, whether the plastic art was not deeply con- 
cerned in that evolution. through which pictography became 
phonography in the history of written speech. After 
appreciating the exuberance of fancy in this Middle 
American ware, one would have to wander long through 
collections of the finest ceramic products ia the world to find 


a conception worked out that has not its barbaric prototype 
in those. Not that the former is to be mentioned in the 
same day with the latter. No such doctrine is promulgated 
in this book. The lily is more beautiful than the lily seed, 
yet the former is all in the latter potentially. 

After all, the most gorgeous decoration in pottery is by 
means of colour. Savages generally did not paint their ware, 
nor do they at the present moment. The Peruvian was 
economical in the use of the brush. The Mound Builder, 
the Eastern Indian, the Mexican, the ancient peoples of the 
old world, aborigines of the negroid area in Australasia, 
sparingly used this style of ornament. The Egyptians, 
indeed, made a pseudo-porcelain, in which quite a variety 
of plain colours were used, but their most common ware 
was in monochrome. The As8yro -Babylonian and the 
Hebraco-Phenician branches of the Semitic family adhered 
closely to the natural colours of the paste and the slip, with 
sparing use of black. Even the Greeks, the Etruscans, and 
the Romans used only body colour, to which in the climax 
of art a plain glaze and black pigment were added. With 
these simplest of all resources, the Greek potters created 
products that are the astonishment of the world. Highly 
coloured pottery did not make its appearance in Europe 
until the Mohammedans asserted their sway. What was 
doing in the Celestial Empire when the most cultivated 
peoples of Ancient Europe were still working in terra cotta, 
it is difficult to say. Very coarse earthen and stone ware 
come from the Far East. But the Chinese invented porce- 
lain. Even in the old blue ware, most antique of all, there 
is the greatest wealth of animal and vegetal forms, of 
scenery and grotesquerie. 

It is a pleasure to turn aside from these earliest Eastern 
Hemisphere efforts at colour to study for a while the ancient 
and modern potters in Central America, and in the Pueblo 
country. Enough has been said of the manner in which the 
artist brought about the smooth vase ready for the colour. 
Nothing more need be said concerning the slip or wash of 


fine, thin clay laid on the surface, before or after the last 
finishing touches of the engraver and modeller. 

One will see quite frequently in collections of South- 
western pottery and in other regions doubtless, little 
compound vessels with two or more cavities, looking like 

a number of small cups that got stuck together in the 
making. They arc now and then labelled incense cups, 
cosmetic cups (which they are frequently), or even condi- 
ment cups. But they are the paint cups of the potters, 
holding white, black, red, brown, yellow mineral or vegetal 
colours, all mixed ready to be laid on. 

By the side of these curious paint '' tubes " will be seen 

THE potter's art. 173 

half a dozen brushes made of very finely shredded textile 
fibre, or of hair daintily seized to the rib of a leaf or the 
quill of a bird. The portfolio of the artist is the whole 
pictorial world around her. But her first hesitating efforts 
in colour on her ware will be the imitation of the works of 
her own hands. Later on, the natural world, the realm of 
fancy, and the mythologic host will furnish her daughters 
with motives. Lastly, the descendants of these will yield 
themselves to that unseen and unsuspected but irresistible 
current of art evolution, in which their mysterious designs 
will connote nothing in the world to those who employ 
them and the entire metamorphosis from naturalism to 
convention will be completed. Mr. Gushing, who lived 
several years with the Zuiii for the sake of studying them 
thoroughly, makes some ingenious suggestions concern- 
ing the development of colouring that ought not to be 

Decoration in colour began when the smooth surface was 
reached. As long as the dish was left with the corrugations 
on, there was no motive to use paint. Vessels are for 
cooking, for serving food, for carrying water, and for storage. 
For eating and drinking vessels the interior surface at least 
would better be smooth. The Zuni eating bowls were 
painted inside, not because that portion is more in view, 
but because bowls were made smooth on the inside even 
when they were left corrugated on the outside.^ 

This style of decoration once coupled with a kind of ware, 
or Avith a definite part of a vessel, retained its association 
permanently. Furthermore, every student of basketry 
knows that the coiled basket bowl has a right side and 
a wrong side, whereon the ends of filaments are fastened 
off. The half-painted pot or bowl is a close imitation of 
the basket in this regard. 

It cannot have escaped the eye of ingenious and vigilant 
potters in early times that clays of various kinds when 

' Gushing, Fourth An, Kep» Bur, Ethnol.^ p. 498, fig. 525. This is an 
excellent illustration. 

burned change in colour, and produce a great variety of 
shades. This fact was quite sufficient to explain the use 
of clay-washes as paint, and as a permanent decorative 

Fir.. 29.— Detail 011 Muki Vase. 

Among the more advanced 
ilso employed. But the most 

Flu. 30.— Detail on Moki Vast. 

primitive decoration of this sort was undoubtedly of mineral 

In the South-western States of the Union occur in 
abundance whole pieces and fragments of plain, rough grey 

THE potter's art. 1 75 

ware ; of whitish ware decorated in black ; of red ware, 
either plain or adorned with geometric patterns in black 
and white. 

The grey or brown colour was produced when a cor- 
rugated jar was smoothed down with stones and burned 
without slip. There would be an exception to this where a 
ferruginous clay abounded, and was used in building up the 

The tempering material of sand or broken pottery or 
digratssant necessary to prevent the cracking of the vessel 
in drying, left the surface rough. This led to the use of 
slip, and a vessel thus prepared and burned had a creamy, 
pure white, red-brown, or other colour, according to the 
clay used. 

Black was the next pigment discovered. Perhaps, Mr. 
Gushing suggests, because the mineral blacks used in stain- 
ing splints for basketry would naturally be tried on pottery, 
and those that would remain became standard. One slip 
would also colour another. At any rate, ancient remains in 
the South-west show that white and black varieties came 
first, then red and black, and later the red, with white and 
black decoration. It was easy to employ the red clay for 
the first wash, the blue clay, which burned white, for the 
white pigment, and any of the black pigments for that 
colour. Or the process might be interchanged. But there 
are no examples of black ware with decorations in red or 
white. The designs were applied to the surface of the ware 
by means of brushes made of the fibre of the yucca, finely 
shredded. The lines are in some Pueblo ware, and in much 
of the lower Central American States, drawn with as much 
care as one of our own artists' would bestow. 

In all the painted ware the designs have been laid upon 
surfaces that had been specially prepared to receive them. 
The parts selected were generally those exposed to view, but 
there are older reasons than that. The one suggested by 
Mr. Gushing had to do with earlier forms. Granting, also, 
that natural objects and basketry furnished the first sugges- 


lion of form, they would likewise have to do with the earliest 
attempt at ornamentation. Once the fashion was set, there 
was nothing else to do subsequently but to follow it. 

S.W. United States. 

"Generally the neck furnishes the space for one zone of 

devices, and the body that for another, while the shoulder, 
where it is wide or particularly accented, suggests the intro- 

flG. 32. — Painted Design on Bowl from Rio San Ji 

duction of a third. In vessels of irregular form the figures 
take such positions as happen to have been suggested by the 
available spaces, by the demands of superstition, or the 
dictates of fancy pure and simple." ' 

' Holmes, Fourth J'l. Kep. Bur. EthiiBl., p. 302. 

THE potter's art. 177 

Now, the very same motives have actuated potters in our 
own day, or at least in historic times. Whether the parts 
of the vessel to be decorated were best selected by savages, 
civilisation follows suit, and has made little changes therein. 
The same is true of colours in clays. It is to be seriously 
questioned whether the most experienced potters could go 
to our south-west country and find better materials for ware 
than those sought out by the # aborigines, and often carried 
to great distances. 

There is no better way of showing the first suggestions 
and the modifications of decorative motives than to study a 
few designs evidently transferred from one art to another. 
Holmes shows the commonest form of two-colour pattern. 
Every embroiderer knows that a child could soon be taught 
to imitate it in bead or sampler-work. In wampum belts, 
in basketry, in primitive embroidery these geometric patterns 
are ever obtruding themselves.^ 

In the basketry bowl, made in the same coiled combina- 
tion by the Pima Indians, living on the Gulf of California, 
just where California and Mexico come together, the meander 
is perfectly worked out, not in straight lines, but in true radii 
emanating from one pole of the sphere, and true parallels 
following the coils around.* 

Now let us compare with this a bowl found on the Rio 
San Juan, not far distant from the corner-stone of the four 
political divisions of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and 
Utah. "A narrow zone of ornament based upon the 
meander encircles the exterior margin of the rim, and a 
broad, carefully drawn design, consisting of two parallel 
meanders, occupies the interior. The meandered fillets of 
the interior are in white, and the bordering stripes and the 
upper and lower rows of triangular interspaces are in solid 
black, while the median band and its connected triangles 
are obliquely striped. The oblique portions of the meander 
are indented or stepped." The drawing is a reconstruction 

* Fourth An. Rep. Bur. Elhnol., p. 487, figs. 507, 508, 509. 

• Sixth Au. Rep. Bur.Ethnol., p. 220, fig. 323. 



from fragments, but the extended pattern will show what the 
design was on the bowl. This pattern would be very easily 
reproduced in basketry by a Mohave woman, and the steps 
or indentations that she would reproduce have been carefully 
copied by the painter.' In the paper from which this design 
is taken, the author has produced an extended series of 
portraits of the most precious specimens of Pueblo art, and 
in the accompanying figures unrolls the designs by a sort of 
Mercator's projection, so that the elements may be more 
carefully studied. Nothing is more apparent than the 
rounding of corners and the little liberties which gradually 
lead the painter on to the point where she may venture in 
freehand to produce vegetal and animal designs. Geometric 
and textile motives are seen sparingly also on the ware of 
Mexico, Central America, Peru, and in the Mississippi 
Valley. The aborigines of these regions, however, were 
painters on bark and skin and other surfaces. The painted 
robe of the Plains Indians, the Mexican and Maya Codices, 
and works of that kind, lent their pedagogic aid in giving 
bias to the decorator's mind. It c;^n easily be imagined 
that the Indians of our North-west coast, were they to 
become suddenly potters would transfer all their wood and 
slate carving skill to ceramics. Their luxuriant variety and 
beauty of basketry work would also have their influence. 
They would combine the geometric work of the Pueblos 
with the rounded forms of the Mounds and of Chiriqui. 
The Pueblo stocks do not seem ever to have painted on any 
integument or paper. They made their coloured figures in 
the sand by drawing furrows on the natural surface and 
filling these with sands of different colours. Conventional 
figures for beasts and birds and insects were painted on 
pottery, but we must go further south for the native home of 
animal forms on ceramic ware.* 

* Holmes, Fourth An, Rep, Bur, Ethnol,^ p. 317. Compare figs. 290 + 
291 ; 292 + 293 ; 294 + 295 + 296 ; 302 -f 303 + 304 + 3^5 5 3^0 + 

311 ; 318 + 319 ; 321 + 322 + 323 ; 324 + 325 + 326 ; 327 + 328 + 

329; 332 + 333 + 334 ; 336 + 337 \ 338 + 339 ; 340 + 341 ; 342 + 343. 
=^ Gushing, Fourth An, Rep, Bur, Ethnol,, p. 515, fig. 551 ; p. 519, figs. 
559, 560. 


The Mound Builders' pottery departs from the Pueblo 
pottery chiefly in the modelling of animal forms. It is at 
the same time so inferior to the ware from the middle 
American region that one might regard it as the rudi- 
mentary state of the latter. Furthermore, those who have 
studied the matter discover local peculiarities even in this 
area, dividing it into an upper Mississippi type, a middle 
Mississippi type, and a lower Mississippi type. The material 
of this ware is often mixed with the rich alluvial soil of the 
region, and tempered with broken or pulverised shells. 
These natural supplies gave a special characteristic to the 
work of Mississippi pottery. 

Two types of body colour exist, the dark and the light, 
these effects being due partly to the clays used and partly to 
the manipulation. The fundamental forms are bowls, pots, 
bottles, or jars, and vessels imitating natural or artificial 
objects. In the first three types there is a similarity with 
Pueblo work, but in the specialised forms the Mississippi 
ware is unique.^ Holmes figures an animal-shaped dark 
vase from Arkansas, combining a number of marks peculiar 
to this area. The whole was moulded, the figure lays no 
claim to portraiture, the feet are luted on, the surface was 
engraved, after baking, with rings and involuted lines. In 
this same fashion and very much after the order of the stone 
pipes, but inferior in execution, occur imitations of fish in the 
freshwater streams, of the wild animals, of birds, and of the 
human form, besides grotesque objects in endless variety. 
Their surfaces are ornamented by trailing, incising, or excava- 
tion in the soft clay j by stamps and impressions ; by engrav- 
ing on the dried or on the burnt surface, and by painting in 
white, red, brown, and black. 

A very great number of the animal and human forms 
hint at the derivation of the first suggestion from a carving 
rather than from a weaving people. The most noticeable 
feature in the wooden dishes of the T'lingit and the Haida 
stocks is the form of a seal, bear, bird, or other creature 

' Holmes, Fourth An* Rep* Bur^EthnoLj p. 404, fig. 416. 


common to this forest region, lying on the back, and the 
stomach or body forming the vessel, while the head and the 
.tail or the head of another animal form the handles. At 
times the animal is erect, and the opening is in the back. 
In very many cases the head and tail are merely carved in low 
relief at the ends. The work on the old ware is extremely 
well done. A very popular delineation in this woodware is 
the head of an animal reaching above the edge of the dish 
and forming a handle on one side. In the great museums 
of Europe and America is to be seen an abundance of this 
North-west Coast woodware.^ 

Along this same line of development the Mound Builder 
made a bottle of the human form, thinking at the same time 
of a gourd in the matter of pouring out the liquid. The 
standard human effigy vase from this region is shown in 
Holmes.2 A woman sitting on her heels with her hands on her 
knees, with very good profile, is the subject. Holmes says of 
this vase, which is ten inches high, that it is well modelled, 
a good deal of attention having been given to the details of 
anatomy. The back is very much humped, and the verte- 
brae are represented by a series of knobs. The knees, calves, 
ankles, and the various parts of the feet are indicated with 
an approach to accuracy. Balfour shrewdly observes, with 
reference to the grotesque in all this savage art, ** However 
rude these representations may be, the intention is realistic, 
and the greater or less resemblance to nature is only a ques- 
tion of skill. But want of skill may of itself tend to alter 
the character of such designs. Imperfect realism readily 
degenerates into the grotesque, and this may partly account 
for the great prevalence of fanciful representations of objects 
among so many savage peoples." 3 

The Mound Builder was capable of better work in pre- 

* For a series of grotesque handles see Holmes, Fourth An, Rep, Bur, 
Eihnol,, p. 388, figs. 383, 384; for vessels, figs. 385 to 391 ; 415-419; 

2 Holmes, Fourth An, Rep, Bur, Ethiwl,^ p. 425, figs. 452 and 453 b. 
^ Henry Balfour, Midland Naturalist ^ 1890, vol. xiii. p. 10. 

THE potter's art. i8i 

seating the human form in clay. An example of this is seen 
in a head five inches high, figured by Holmes. The walls 
are from one-eighth to one-fourth of an inch thick. ** This 
vase was modelled in plain clay, and allowed to harden 
before the devices were engraved. After this a thick film 
of fine yellowish-grey was applied to the face. The re- 
mainder of the face, including the lips, received a thick 
coat of dark red paint. The whole surface was then highly 
polished." ' 

By far the most elegantly decorated ware in America is 

found in the central regions, from the isthmus northward to 

Nicaragua. Both geometric and animal forms are delineated 

in such manner as to show that the makers were already in 

the metallic age. The fabrics and the ceramic ware both 

manifest the influence of that curious metal-work which 

characterises the region. But, in what Mr. Holmes calls the 

" Lost Colour Group," a new feature in laying on ornament 

is introduced. " The paste is fine grained, and usually of a 

light yellow grey tint throughout. The surface was finished 

either in a light-coloured slip or in a strong red pigment. 

In some cases the light tint was used exclusively, and again 

the red covered the entire surface, but more frequently the 

two were used together, occupying distinct areas of the same 

vessel, and forming the ground work of decorative patterns 

in other colours. They were polished down with great care, 

giving a glistening surface upon which the markings of the 

tool can still be seen. The bright red colour is only a 

ground tint, and is not used in any case in the delineation 

of design. The patterns were worked out in a pigment or 

fluid now totally lost, but which has left traces of its former 

existence through its effect on the ground colours. In the 

beginning of the decoration a thin black colour, probably of 

vegetal character, was carried over the area to be treated, 

and upon this the figures were traced in the lost colour. 

When this colour, or taking-out medium, disappeared, it 

carried the black tint beneath, exposing the light grey and 

* Holmes, Fourth An. Rep. Bur. Ethiwl.^ p. 407, fig. 420. 


red tints of the ground, and leaving the interstices in black. 
These interstitial characters are often mistaken for the true 
design." ^ 

There is one instructive body of evidence that must not 

be overlooked before the potter's art is dismissed. True it 
is that not much remains of the textile industry of antiquity. 
Here and there a few charred examples, and in desert or 
rainless countries, like Peru and Egypt, the relics of more 
advanced weaving and embroidery, that is all. 

But it occurred to the potters of antiquity to adorn the 
surfaces of their ware with textile patterns. The threads 
made deep furrows on the clay while it was soft. The 
burning fixed the impression. Centuries of exposure have 
removed from these fragments the painted decorations and 
the engraved designs. But dust has crept into the meander- 
ing furrows, just as dust enveloped the Mesopotamian cities. 
By washing the fragment and pressing on the surface soft 
wax or putty or artist's clay, the most delicate filaments of 
the ancient textile stand out revealed. 

Curiously enough, the potsherds of North America, with 
few exceptions, bear the impress of fabrics made to this day 
by the living aborigines. More than this, the Lake dwell- 
ings of Switzerland reveal among the charred objects not 
only the plain weaving with which all are familiar, but the 
twined style, common all over North America and Africa. 
These, and even the very knots in the nets, are similarly 
demonstrated on pottery, as well as a kind of embroidery on 
bark, such as the Polynesians employ in making stamps for 
tapa cloth.* 

' Holmes, Sixth An. Rep. Bur, Ethnol., 1888, p. 113. 

* Sellers, Pop. Sc. Monthly^ New York, vol. xi. p. 573. Holmes, ** Pre- 
historic Textile Fabrics," Third An. Rep. Bur, Ethnol. .^ Washington, 
1884, pp. 393-426, pi. xxxix., figs. 60-115. 

^^^^^j^^^^lii jjjpj^^ J ' ^ j^ 



^^H^^k -' r^B 


^■^Pt^^:^' ^'<S 




Krl \h ^^^mi 


■fT cJ^^H 

Bj^Mn is^^ -:Mm^ 





__.. "'^ 



** Inventor, Pallas, of the fattening oil, 
Thou founder of the plough and ploughman's toil ; 
Come all ye gods and goddesses tliat wear 
The rural honours and increase the year, 
You who supply the ground with seeds of grain, 
And you who swell those seeds with kindly rain. " 

Virgil, Geor^tcs, L 

Primitive peoples approached the vegetal kingdom for 
food^ iox fibre y and for woods or timber. 

In the matter of aliment, no one can doubt that the earliest 
peoples helped themselves from the bounty of nature, and 
their inventions, if they made any, related merely to search- 
ing for food and carrying it home. 

In progressing beyond this natural harvest and consump- 
tion, they adopted the order of selection and preparation 
previously laid down in this volume, proceeding always 
from the simple to the more complex in every respect. As 
an example of a great variety of plants utilised by a savage 
race whose wants were not excessive, Ellis, in his Polynesian 
Researches^ mentions the apape, used by the natives in 
building their canoes, and the faifai, employed for the same 
purpose; the aito, or t02, {Casuarina equasitifolia)^ called 
also ironwood, for making weapons ; the reva {Galaxa 
sparta\ quite as valuable ; tiairi, or candle-nut tree (Alurties 
triloba) ; tamanu, or ati {Callophyllum inophyllum)^ an insect- 
proof wood out of which furniture and keels for canoes are 



wrought ; purau (Hibiscus tiliaceus)^ furnishing wood for 
paddles, boards for native vessels, and rafters for ordinary 
dwellings ; auti [Morns papyriferd)^ or Chinese paper mul- 
berry, for manufacturing the cloth worn in the islands ; 
mate {Ficus prolixd)^ the berries supplying a scarlet dye and 
the bark furnishing fibre for the large and durable salmon 
nets ; romaha {Urtica argented)^ from the bark of which are 
made strong elastic fishing lines and smaller nets ; bread-fruit 
{Artocarpus^ many species), the chief food tree of the islands ; 
taro (Colocasia esculentd)^ the most serviceable article of 
food ; the uhi, or yam {Dioscorea alatd)^ a valuable food 
foot ; the umaia, or sweet potato ( Convolvulus batatus)^ also 
grown for food ; pia, or arrowroot (Chailea taccd)^ grows 
spontaneously, and is sometimes cultivated ; the haari, 
cocoanut (Coccos nucifcrd)^ used for spears, wall plates, 
rafters, pillars, kitchen knives, parts of canoes, fences, 
bagging, fuel, house screens, mats, baskets, clothing, hats, 
food^ apparatus of worship ; maia, plantain and banana 
(Musa paradisiaca and M, sapientum)^ thirty varieties culti- 
vated ; vi, or Brazilian plum (Spondias dulcis)^ an abundant 
and excellent fruit ; ahia, or jambo {Eugenia Alallaccensis)^ 
the most juicy fruit in the island ; mape, or rata {Tuscarpus 
edulis)^ used in times of scarcity as a substitute for bread- 
fruit ; ti-root (Dracance terminalis)^ baked and eaten ; to, or 
sugar-cane {Saccharum officinarum)^ often carried on long 
journeys to appease hunger and thirst as well. To this list, 
Ellis says, many more were added, but this will be ** suf- 
ficient to show the abundance, diversity, nutritiveness, 
delicacy, and richness of the provision spontaneously fur- 
nished to gratify the palate and supply the necessities of 
the inhabitants.^' * The Kew Gardens could multiply this 
list ten times easily. 

De Candolle discusses the origin of cultivated plants under 
the following heads : — 

1. Plants cultivated for their subterranean parts. 

2. Plants cultivated for their stems or leaves. 

* KUis, Polynes. I^es., London, 1859, Bohn, vol. i., chaps, ii. and iii. 


3. Plants cultivated for their flowers. 

4. Plants cultivated for their fruits. 

5. Plants cultivated for their seeds. 

In noting the unequal distribution of cultivable plants, 
he enumerates the .inducements held out by Nature to 

1. A region with plants worth the trouble of cultivating. 

2. With not too rigorous a climate. 

3. Having only moderate duration of drought. 

4. Furnishing security to the cultivator. 

5. Yet pressing the necessity of cultivation by the absence 
of game, fish, and indigenous nutritious plants, isuch as 
chestnuts, dates, bananas, breadfruit and the like.' 

As an example of a plant worthy of cultivation, a sago 
palm tree of good size will produce enough food to keep a 
man a whole year. Wallace says it is truly an extraordi- 
nary sight to witness a whole tree-trunk converted into food 
with so little labour and preparation. The great Sago 
district is in the island Ceram. When sago is to be made, 
a full-grown tree is cut down, the leaves cleared away, and a 
broad strip of the bark taken ofi^ the upper side of the trunk. 
The pith is dug out with a club of hard wood having a 
sharp piece of quartz embedded in one end, leaving a skin 
not more than half an inch thick. This material is carried 
away in baskets, made of the sheathing bases of the leaves, to 
the washing machine, of which the large sheathing bases of 
the leaves form the troughs and the fibrous covering from 
the leaf stalks of the young cocoanut the strainer. Water 
is poured on the pith, which is pressed against the strainer 
until the starch is dissolved. The water charged with the 
starch passes on to a trough, with a -depression in the centre, 
where the sediment is deposited and the water trickles off by 
a shallow outlet.^ 

Quite as remarkable are the banana, the breadfruit, the 

* Cf, De Gandolle, Origin of Cultivated Plants^ kew York, 1885. 
"" Wallace, Malay Archipelago^ New York, 1869, p. 383, seq. with 
pictures of apparatus. 


date, the yam, and perhaps others, besides all the great 

Vegetable food species, says Payne, may be arranged in 
regard to the way in which they most quickly and amply 
repay the labour which the process involves, into three 
groups : (i) Plants bearing succulent fruits, stems, or leaves ; 
(2) plants with succulent roots ; (3) culmiferous or cereal 
grasses, supplemented by edible nuts and other materials for 
the miller. They fall into the same order when it is sought 
to group them with reference (i) to the order in which man 
appears to have been led to appropriate them as natural 
bases of subsistence ; (2) to the amount of labour necessary 
to adapt them for human consumption ; (3) to the amount 
of labour necessary to convert them from a natural to an 
artificial basis ; (4) to the value possessed by each relatively 
to their bulk and capacity for storage ; and (S) to the degree 
in which their cultivation contributes to advancement.^ 

The harvester, the carrier, the miller, the baker, the cook, 
the purveyor, are all to be seen in embryo in the occu- 
pations of the first men and the first women in their role of 
going to the plant kingdom for foodstuffs. Very often one 
woman will be found in her daily cares performing all of 
these functions. 

At first, the planter, the farmer, or the gardener, did not 
appear. The order of her coming (for this art primarily 
belonged to women) seems to have been first as a field 
botanist, familiarising herself with nutritious plants ; second, 
as a weeder, removing from proximity with the useful plant 
others that impeded its growth and were of no use ; third, 
as a planter, putting the root or seed where it would gro^v 
and take care of itself. An example or two taken from 
actual life will illustrate at once how this primeval gleaner 
came at last to dress and keep the earth.* 

" The Panamint (Shoshonean) Indians of Death^s Valley, 

' Payne, Hist, of America^ New York, 1892, vol. i. p. 333. 
' Consult Ling Roth, ''Origin of Agriculture, "y. Anthrop, Jnsi,^ I^ondon, 
1886, vol. xvi. pp. 102-136. 


California, eat large quantities of the nuts of /Vims iiioiio- 
phylla. In early autumn, after the seeds have matured, but 
before the scales have opened, the cones are beaten from the 
trees, gathered into baskets and spread out on a smooth 
piece of ground exposed to the heat of the sun. The scales 
soon become dry and crack apart, and the seeds are shaken 
out by blows of a 
stick. They 
then gathered into 
baskets and most 
of them are cached 
in dry places among 
the rocks for use 
during the year, 
To prepare them 
for food the nuts 
are put into a basket 
with some live 
coals and shaken or 
stirred until theyare 
gradually roasted." ' 
Other plants, indeed 
of almost all that 
are not poisonous, 
are also used. The 
met hodofprocuring 
them is different 
with each plant, but 
the process of roasting is always the same. The common 
sand grass of the desert {Oryzopsis membranacea) produces 
an abundance of seed and is generally used. In gathering 
it the squaw carries in one hand a small basket and in the 
other a paddle made of wicker-work resembling a tennis 
racket. With this she beats the grass panicles over the 

' Covilk, Am. Anlhrfffologisi, Washinfilon, 1892, vol. v, p. 352. 


One of the prickly pears {Opuntia basilar is) used by these 
Panamiiit Indians has taxed the ingenuity of the harvester, 
and her methods of overcoming the difficulties is very in- 
genious. " In May and early June the flat, fleshy joints of the 
season^s growth as well as the buds, blossoms, and immature 
fruit are fully distended with sweet sap. They are broken 
ofi^ with sticks and collected in large baskets. Each joint 
having been rubbed with grass to remove the fine, barbed 
prickles, is exposed to the heat of the sun. Instead of the 
drying process, another, more elaborate, is sometimes 
adopted. A hole about ten inches in depth and three 
feet in diameter, is dug in the ground and lined with stones. 
Upon this a fire is built and other stones thrown in. When 
they are thoroughly heated — the ashes, coals and all — one 
layer of stones is scraped away, and some fresh or moistened 
grass spread in the hole. Next a layer of cactus joints is 
added, then more hot stones, and so on, until the pile is well 
rounded. The whole is then covered with a mat, and lastly 
with moist earth. After about twelve hours of steaming 
the pile is opened, and the na'-vo is salted and eaten. A 
portion is dried and preserved." 

There grow in the desert several large crucifers. The 
process of preparation is as follows : The leaves and young 
stems are gathered and thrown into boiling water for a few 
minutes, then taken out, washed in cold water and squeezed. 
The operation of washing is repeated five or six times, and 
the leaves are finally dried ready to be used as boiled cab- 
bage. The washing removes the bitter taste and substances 
that produce nausea and diarrhoea. 

The ripe pods of the mesquit bean (Prosopis jtiltjiora) 
contain very hard, bony seed, but the spaces between them, 
the body and septa of the pod, are stored with a small amount 
of nutritious matter, consisting principally of sugar. These 
are gathered and often cached until spring by the California 
Indians. The pods are ground in a wooden mortar and the 
flour sifted out. 

The common reed {Phvagmttes vulgaris) furnishes the 


Panamint Indians with sugar. In early summer, when the 
plants have attained nearly full size they are cut and dried 
in the sun. When perfectly brittle the whole plant is 
ground and the finer portions separated by sifting. This 
moist, sticky flour is moulded by the hand into a thick gum- 
like mass. It is then set near a fire and roasted until it 
swells and browns slightly, and in this toffy-like state it is 

In April when the flower buds of the Yucca hrevifolia are 
swelling, they are in a proper condition for food. The buds 
are terminal on the branches, and are protected by a close 
rosette of serrated, stiff, pointed, almost dagger-like leaves. 
The fibre of these leaves is so tough and the situation of the 
buds on the stem such that it would be diflftcult to cut one 
out even with an axe or hatchet. The Indians substitute 
dexterity for instruments. The four or five uppermost 
mature leaves are drawn together over the apex of the bud 
and grasped by the hand ; then by a quick, sidewise bend 
the head is broken off. The leaves and tips are discarded, 
leaving an egg-shaped, solid, juicy mass. This is roasted on 
hot coals and eaten at once or kept until cold. 

In some parts of the Charleston Mountains, Nevada, the 
Piutes use a small mescal {Agave utahcnsts). Where 
the plant abounds are numerous mescal pits, in which it 
has been cooked in previous years. These mescal pits, as 
they are called, are circular depressions in the ground six to 
twenty feet in circumference, and sloping evenly to a centre 
one three feet in depth. They are deeply lined with coarse 
gravel. A great fire was built in a pit, and kept up until 
the stones were very hot. The fire was raked out, the 
mescal plants placed in and covered with grass. After two 
days of steaming the pile was opened, and the mescal was 
ready for eating. 

Mr. Coville, the Botanist of the Department of Agriculture 
in Washington, in his function devotes much energy to 
searching for the native American plants that might yet be 
brought under cultivation. In this work it is necessary to 


know what species were of use to the aborigines, and the 
result is most astonishing. The list would include hundreds 
of species.* 

Wherever savages have been visited in their native 
simplicity, they seem to have found out just how to garner 
the products of plants in the best manner. The Calispel 
Indians gather cranberries with rakes ; the Ojibwa woman 
paddles her canoe among the wild rice, and with a proper 
wand beats the seeds into a coarse mat spread on the 
bottom. The gatherers of certain water-plants know the 
feeling of the desired roots with their feet, and use these 
members to secure them. 

After all has been said about other devices, the digging 
stick is the beginning of agricultural implements, the pro- 
genitor of the hoe, the spade, the plough. It would be 
difficult to find a tribe so low down as not to know its use. 
A patent-office examiner would declare that nothing could 
be simpler than to rub a stick on a rock to give it a point. 
Hardening this point in fire came later. At any rate, the 
California tribes dig clams, the Oregon tribes dig roots, 
the Australian tribes dig vermin, the Andamanese dig yams, 
and all over Africa root-food and animal food are forced out 
of the ground with the digging stick. As for taro, the 
Polynesian both plants it and harvests it with the same 

Ellis says : ** The chief and almost only implement used 
was the o, a stick sharpened at the point, and used in 
loosening and turning up the earth. Formerly they 
hardened the end with which they penetrated the soil by 
charring it in the fire. No use is made of the foot in 
thrusting the spade into the soil, but the person digging 
assumes a crouching attitude, pierces the ground, and breaks 
up the earth by the strength of the hands and arms. The 

^ Consult Sturtevant, " Origin of Garden Vegetables," Am. Natu7-aH5t^ 
vol. XIX. ; Newberry, " Plants used by North American Indians," Pop. Sc. 
Monthly i vol. xxxii. See also Goodale, " Useful Plants of the Future," 
Proc. A. A. A. S., 1892, pp. 1-38, and ** Official Guide to Kew Gardens." 


making and repairing of fences occupies much of the time 
of those engaged in the cultivation of the soil." ' 

This implement is not only useful in taking from the soil 

the crops that Nature has planted and raised, but it is the 
beginner of artificial planting. 

An exceedingly ingenious deidce in the nature of a 

' Ellis, Polyius. Rescarchts, London, 1859, vol. i. [j. 137. 


harvesting implement is the kelp-knife of the Oregon 
Indians. The stalks of kelp are harvested and tied together 
to form the long lines used in deep-sea fishing. To cut 
loose the stalk from its root a slip-knot of cedar withe 
containing a knife-blade is passed over the kelp-bud at the 
top of the water. A stone sinker carries the apparatus 
down the stem to the bottom, and the harvester, holding 
the kelp stem with one hand, quickly pulls a line which he 
had previously attached to the cutter, and severs the stalk 
close to the root. When wet these stems are very strong, 
but when dry they snap like pipe-stems. 

The farming corporations in new countries now burn off 
the prairie, and by means of the steam-plough are able to 
cultivate thousands of acres under one management. They 
follow this up with wheel, spring-tooth, and crushing 
harrows, and plant their crops with buggy drills. All this 
seems easy enough, for it is naught but riding. Many who 
read this will remember their grandfather's farm, where the 
processes were far more simple and the work more laborious. 
Some have travelled in Mexico and Sicily and Tunis, where 
the ploughs are as primitive as they were in the days of the 
prophets. But this is nowhere near the beginning of agri- 
culture. Let us see. A company of Cocopa or Mohave or 
Pima women set forth to a rich and favoured spot on the 
side of a canon or rocky steep. They are guarded by a 
sufficient number of men from capture or molestation. 
Each woman has a little bag of gourd seed, and when the 
company reach their destination she proceeds to plant the 
seeds one by one in a rich cranny or crevice where the roots 
may have opportunity to hold, the sun may shine in, and 
the vines with their fruit may swing down as from a trellis. 
The planters then go home and take no further notice of 
their vines until they return in the autumn to gather the 
gourds. This is the testimony of E. Palmer, who spent 
many years as a collector among the American aborigines. 
Seed-time and harvest : no preparation of the soil, no 
tending of the young plants ; ingathering, that is all. 


The Polynesians propagated the ante {Morns papyrifera)^ 
or Chinese paper mulberry, from scions, just as in England 
the osiers are raised. The arum was multiplied by trans- 
planting the small tubers which grow round the principal 
root, or by setting out the top or crown of the roots that 
had been used for food/ 

The breadfruit tree was propagated from shoots springing 
out of the roots. The uhi or yam {Dtoscorea alatd) was 
cultivated with much care. On the sides of hills and banks 
terraces were formed of mixed rich earth and decayed leaves. 
The roots were kept in baskets till they began to sprout. 
The eyes or sprouts were then cut off with pieces of the root 
attached to them, and these spread out and left to dry. The 
rest of the yam was eaten. The native agriculturists had a 
theory that it was better to plant the eye with only a thin 
shaving of the root than with the whole tuber or a thick 
slice attached as we do. When the slips were sufficiently 
dry they were put into the ground sprouts uppermost, and 
a small portion of leaves and mould laid over them. When 
the roots began to swell the farmers kept hilling them up, 
as we call it, until they were sufficiently mature to harvest. 
The umara or sweet potato {Convolvulus hatatus or chryso- 
rtzus) received the following treatment. A mound of rich 
black mould is raised, nine or ten feet in diameter and three 
feet high. In the top of this mound they inserted a small 
bunch of vines, which germinated and produced abundantly. 
Arrowroots were planted whole, and a number of tuberous 
roots formed at the extremities of the fibres. 

On his first voyage Columbus found the natives culti- 
vating what is called a yam {Dtoscorea alatd). "They 
powder and knead them, and make them into bread ; then 
they plant the same branch in another part, which again 
sends out four or five of the same roots." ^ 

The " Campas of Peru burn and cut down the lofty 

' Ellis, Polynes, Res,, London, 1859, Bohn, vol. i. pp. 34, 344. 
"* J» of Christopher Coluvibtts, Hakluyt, London, 1893, vol. Ixxxvi, 
. 112. 



forests around their cabins (Jianguchjs), and in the area thus 
opened they plant or sow bananas, coca, maize, yuccas, 
beans, maiigoiias, and uncuchm, solanaceous plants ana- 
logous to potatoes. The cotton plants spring up spon- 
taneously about their houses, as nettles do with us." ' 

The reader has already been reminded of the beneficent 
co-operation of fire in the subduing of the earth. One who 
has lived in Canada, or the Western States of the Union, or 

Fig 36 —Sum al of ancient fonn of Plough n Span sh agricult 

in the colonial possessions of the Great Powers of Europe, 
knows how powerless man would even now be without this 
generous aid. 

"The chief use of the hatchets among the Delaware 
Indians of New Jersey," says Kalm, " was to make good 
fields for maize plantations. If the ground was covered 
with woods, they cut off the bark all round the trees with 

■ Ollivier Ordinaire, Kev. d'Etkneg., 1887, vol. vi. p. 271. Payne, Hiu, 
of APitrita, Oxford, 1892, vol. i- pt 365 sa^. 


their hatchets at the time when they lose their sap. The 
trees thus girdled died, and the ground was a little turned 
up with crooked or sharp branches." * This attack upon 
the tree is absolutely efficacious, even in old forests where 
the amount of undergrowth that savages could get together 
would not be sufficient to burn the life out of the giants. . 

In the line of inventing the plough, Livingstone calls 
attention to a double-handled hoe used by the women in 
Portuguese Africa. It consists of two limbs of a tree joined 
by a short piece of the trunk, into the grain of which the 
shank of the hoe is driven. The implement is worked by a 
dragging motion, and in the excellent figure given there are 
knobs cut on the extreme ends of the handles which might 
well serve to attach traces for these primitive draught 

Naturally the question would arise, why all regions are 
not alike ready to receive the hoe and the plough. In this 
search de Candolle will be of great service. He says, ** The 
various causes which favour or obstruct the beginnings of 
agriculture, explain why certain regions have been for 
thousands of years peopled by husbandmen, while others 
are still inhabited by nomadic tribes. . . . Into Australia, 
Patagonia, and even in the south of Africa the plants 
of the north temperate zone could not penetrate by reason 
of the distance, and those of the intertropical zone were 
excluded by great drought or by absence of high tempera- 
ture. At the same time the indigenous species were very 
poor. It is not the mere want of intelligence or of security 
which prevented the inhabitants from cultivating them." 3 

The preparation of the ground opens the way to the 
simplest fashions of tillage. The Zufii head-man mounts 
the top of his house every morning and gives his orders to 
each member of the clan about what to do in the peach 

* Kalm, Travels i <Sr»f., London, 1771, vol. ii. p. 38. 

* Livingstone, Trav, &»c.f in S, A/r,, New York, 1858, p. 442, figured. 
3 De Candolle, Origin of Cultivated Plants, New York, 1885, I^- A. 

& Co., p. 3. 


orchard, the pumpkin patch, the cornfield. The hoeing is 
indeed very scanty, but one thing cannot be intermitted ; 
rapacious animals and birds are ever on the alert. There 
is no genus or species of scarecrow that they are not 
familiar with, so the Zuni farmer has a hard time of it. His 
prayers, his vigilance, and his labours never cease until the 
crop is safely in his stomach. 

The African farmers are equally alert. Most of the 
agriculture is woman^s work ; it is of the African woman 
that it might be written, ** Woman^s work is never done." 
More than in the Western Continent, the great beasts and 
small trample down and eat up the crops. The fence, there- 
fore, derives its origin quite as much from a desire to protect 
plants as from a military motive. Almost all the pictures of 
African and Indo-Pacific home life include this feature, and 
the Pueblo peoples know how to stand poles on end and 
fasten them together by strong withes in twined weaving. 

There are many things that sorely try the patience of the 
Dyaks as they watch with unflagging interest the growth of 
their crops. It is true the pigs and deer are excluded by 
means of the wooden fence, but nothing short of the most 
untiring vigilance can keep out the climbing and winged 
pests such as monkeys, squirrels, rats, and sparrows, some of 
which are sure to visit the farm as the paddy is ripening.* 

The elaboration of mechanical devices and methods of 
ingathering began with mere plucking, just as animals do. 
The many inventions for climbing trees are really harvest- 
ing apparatus. The savage appliances for going to the 
great harvest-fields of Nature would be just as useful for the 
ingathering of cultivated crops. Knives of stone were the 
first sickles, and human backs were the earliest farm 
waggons. Very old forms of bronze sickles are also to be 
seen in European museums. Many of those who read these 
pages will have seen a scarcely improved one of iron in use 
in Norway and Sweden. 

The same is true of threshing and winnowing, or the 

* Ling Roth, /. Anthrop, Inst., London, 1892, vol. ii. p. 23. 



separation of the chaff from the grain. In America, fire is 

universally used for this purpose. A mass of gathered 

heads is placed in a conical basket and rubbed with the 

hands. Then the mixture of seed and chaff is put into a 

" roasting tray," which is a large flat basketry dish. Then 

red-hot stones are laid on the mass by means of wooden 

tongs. The seeds are 

parched to a turn and 

the chaff is burned 

The first flail was the 

commonest kind of a 

stick, the first fanning 

mill was a forked stick 

co-operating with the 

wind. These were all 

primarily used with the 

wild seeds. The trans 

ition from the dropping 

of grain seeds naturally 

to the intentional 

planting of them was 

not difficult to learn 

Neither did the thresh 

ing and winnowing of 

the crops from planted 

seeds need or receive 

any change of treat 


On the advent of 
domestic animals two 

styles of threshing came into vogue ; the one was simply 
driving donkeys or other animals over the straw ; the other 
was the use of the mowrej or tribtilum, not yet gone out of 
use in North Africa and South-western Asia. 

"^he common mode of threshing in Palestine," according 
to Thomson, " is with the mowrej, drawn by a yoke of oxen, 
until the grain is shelled out and even the straw is ground 


into chaff. Bits of rough lava are fastened into the bottom 
of the mowrej and the driver sits or stands on it. The 
construction of the floor is very simple. A circular space, 
from thirty to fifty feet in diameter, is made level, and the 
ground smoothed off and beaten solid. The entire harvest 
is brought to them and there threshed and winnowed, and 
the different products carried to I heir respective places. 
The Egyptian mowrej has rollers which revolve on the 
grain. In the plains of Hamath I saw this machine much 
improved on by having circular saws attached to the rollers. 
On some floors here at Yebna, there was no machine of any 
kind ; but boys rode or drove donkeys and horses or oxen 
round upon the grain. No one continued long in the same 
direction, but each changed every few minutes to keep the 
animals from becoming dizzy. The grain as it is threshed 
is heaped up in the centre of the floor, and when the wind 
blows the mixture is thrown up with shovel and fork to 
have the dust and chaff and straw blown away." ' 

Of scarcely less importance in the art of feeding on the 
vegetable kingdom is the storing of food. The preservation 
for future use demands a knowledge of the nature of the 
crop and the ever-present danger of destructive animals and 
decay and thieves called for eternal vigilance on the part of 
the owners. 

In the Chapter on Fire reference was made to the drying 
and cooking of animal and vegetable food. Many seeds 
may be kept indefinitely by excluding moisture, others, like 
the succulent roots, are preserved in cold, damp caches. But 
the most important invention in this respect is the granary. 
The animals taught men to build granaries. Not only the 
ant has something to say to the sluggard. In California 
the woodpeckers bore holes in trees, and store in each one 

* Thomson, The Laiid and the Book^ New York, 1880, vol. ii. pp. 149 
to 155. Five excellent illustrations. The reader will again notice that all 
the intricate invention in the modem thresher is not in the working part, 
which remains practically the same, but in the manual part which sub- 
stitutes machinery for man or beast. 


an acorn for futuie use. The Indians, in times of scarcity, 
actually rob these acorn stores to supply themselves. Bees 
may be mentioned whose stores are also appropriated, and 
there are a thousand and one animal and vegetal gums 
and resins of which men help themselves. The natives of 
every land commence their life of true economy by 
invading the stores of their animal neighbours. Not 
content with killing and snaring the creatures they proceed 
also to administer on their effects. 

The gleaning of the fields and of the waters really 
supposes the use of storehouses. William Strachey says, 
" Their corne and indeed their copper hatchetts, howses, 
beades, perle, and most things of value they hide in the 
grownd within the woods, and so keep them untill they 
have fit use for them." ^ 

Granaries or public receptacles were by the people in 
Florida built of stone or earth, and roofed with palmetto 
leaves and clay. They served as depositories for maize, 
fruits, nuts, nutritious roots, dried fishes, alligators, deer, 
dogs, and other jerked meats. Hoards of corn, nuts, and 
meat are frequently mentioned in the early narratives as 
existent among the primitive peoples of this region.^ 

" The general storehouses of the Muskhogean tribes were 
circular in form — their walls constructed of stone and' earth, 
and their roofs fashioned with the branches of trees, grass, 
clay, and palmetto leaves — were located in the neighbour- 
hood of streams and in retired spots, where they were 
protected from the direct rays of the sun. They were built 
and furnished by the common labour of the tribe, and in 
them were stored corn, various fruits, and the flesh of fishes, 
deer, alligators, snakes, dogs and other animals, previously 
smoked and dried on a scaffold." 3 

Among the Nutka Indians of Vancouver Island, in 

* Hist, of Travaile into Va.^ London, 1849, Hakluyt Soc, p. 1(3. 
' Cf. Jones, Smithson. Kep.^ 1885, vol. i. p. 900. 

3 Jones, So, htdiansy New York, 1873, p. 12, refers to pi. xxii., xxiii., 
xxiv. in Brevis Narratis, also p. 35. 


addition to stores of oil, dried fish, and spawn, several 
varities of seaweed and lichens, as well as the camass and 
other roots were regularly laid up for winter ; while berries, 
everywhere abundant, were gathered in great quantities in 
their season, and at least one variety preserved by pressing 
in bunches.' 

The Hurons of Canada, according to Cartier, 1535, had 
good and large fields of corn, which they preserve in 
garrets at the tops of their houses. Champlain speaks to 
the same effect (16 10)." 

According to Bandelier, Mindeleff, and other explorers of 
the Pueblos, the rooms of the ground storey in ancient 
times were used for granaries and storage. Even the roofs 
were used for the temporary storage ; " and in autumn, 
after the harvests have been gathered, the terraces and 
copings are often covered with drying peaches, and the 
peculiar long strips into which pumpkins and squashes 
have been cut to facilitate their desiccation for winter use." 
In another Pueblo a bin was built upon a ledge in a corner 
of a room by means of slabs and clay. ** In many houses, 
both in Tusayan and Cibola, shelves are constructed for the 
more convenient storage of food." Another device for the 
storage of food is a pocket or bin built into the corner of a 

Schweinfurth says that granaries for corn, resting on posts, 
are in use in the whole of Central Africa as far as the 
tropical rains and white ants extend. In the example and 
figures of the author there is nothing left out which would 
be thought essential in modern storehouses. They are secure 
from dampness below and rain above, vermin and thief 
proof, and universally have a look-out on the top.4 

* Bancroft, Native Races^ vol. i. p. 187. 

* Referred to with other references by Lucien Carr, Ky, Geol. Survey, 
vol. ii. p. 14. 

3 Victor Mindeleff, Eighth An, Rep, Bur, EthnoL, Washington, 1891 ; 
consult index sub voce ** Storage." 
^ Schweinfurth, Artes Africanae, London, 1871, pi. vi. fig. i. 


An ingenious granary is built by the Sehre negroes, 
neighbours of the Niam Niam, embracing the three ideal 
characteristics of such a structure, namely, protection against 
moth and rust and thieves, — ^in this case termites and ver- 
min, dampness and thieves. A post is set in the ground and 
peeled, and on the top of this the receptacle for corn is made, 
vase shaped, from the clay taken from the mushroom-form 
structures of the Termes mordax. Over the clay structure a 
thatched roof is built in a very tasteful manner.' 

Cisterns as granaries are of very ancient date. In lime- 
stone countries, no sooner did men begin to lay up provisions 
than they discovered ants and mice and rats. The cisterns 
of Palestine were proof against dampness as well as from 
vermin and plundering robbers. Indeed, the owner of the 
crops has taken refuge in them, and there also has he 
incarcerated his enemies. In the old sieges, lasting many 
years, the preservation of grain must have been a study. 
Indeed, there is no reason to doubt that the ability to pre- 
serve grain for a long time, as in Mexico, Peru, and Egypt 
was a factor in the early and more rapid development of 
their populations. At any rate, the oldest of historic 
nations elaborated early the granary.* 

There was no such thing as a food-safe in the economy of 
the ancient Hawaiian house, and to preserve victuals from 
pigs, dogs, and rats, it was necessary to suspend the gourds 
that contained them beyond their reach. Usually a pole 
was fixed in the floor of the house, and to the top was fitted 
a notched cross-bar, from which a number of gourds might 
be hung. 

Before the introduction of cats the Hawaiian used a bow 
and arrow to kill rats and mice. But they never employed 
this weapon in war.3 

The Kyan, Kinah, and Lanahan Dyaks stow their paddy 

* Schweinfurth, Aries Africanae, London, 1875, pi. xx. fig. 4. 
' Wilkinson, Afut, Egyptiaiis^ quoting the Bible, Diodorus, and other 
writers; index, sub voce, "Granaries." 

3 Brigham, Cat, Bishop, Mus,, Honolulu, 1892, vol. ii. pp. 23, 31. 

Primitive Uses of plants. 203 

in barns built for the purpose. The floor is six feet above 
the ground and the posts are encircled with wooden discs to 
keep off the rats.' 

Compare this with the more primitive device of the 
Fijians, cut from a solid block of wood. In form it re- 
sembles a clumsy spindle, with shaft and whorl of one piece. 
By the part above the whorl the apparatus is suspended. 
At the lower end of this axis any number of hooks are cut, 
and from these all sorts of food are suspended. The wooden 
disc prevents vermin crawling down the shaft. 

Plants were early used in healing disease. It is well 
understood by all ethnologists that disease is thought by 
savages to be the possession of the individual by evil spirits. 
The cure of maladies, therefore, would be akin to sorcery, 
and the doctor is exorcist, seer, conjurer, fortune-teller, and 
physician all in one. But, with this knowledge fully before 
us, we are bound to own that a deal of experimental medicine 
and surgery were early developed in spite of such wrong 
theories. When a Florida Indian doctor scarified the fore- 
head of a patient with a shell and sucked therefrom the 
demon of disease, he was cupping and leeching his sick man 
and nothing short. When, again, he compelled the patient 
to inhale the smoke of tobacco or other medicinal herbs, he 
was fumigating him, and unwittingly discovering a little in 
bacteriology. These same doctors had found out purgatives 
and emetics and astringents to drive away with disgust the 
evil spirits he had in his mind ; but the disease departed 
quite as soon for him as for us, when he gave the proper 
medicine. Bathing, sun-baths, exercise, massage, and even 
faith-cure had a part in this practice. ** The Inhabitants 
giue great credit vnto their speeche, which oftentimes they 
finde to bee true." ^ 

The number of medicinal plants in the pharmacopoeia ot 
any savage people is surprisingly large. Many of them 

* Ling Roth,y. Anthrop, Inst.y London, 1892, vol. xxii. p. 30. 
^ Hariot, quoted by Jones, So, Indians^ pp. 30-34. See Max Bartels* 
interesting work, Medicin der Naturvolker, Leipzig, 1893. 


remain in use ; but in the forests are many more, which 
they have taken once and abandoned for ever. 

Not enough has been here said about the improvement of 
plants under domestication. The inventive genius of early 
man is shown most remarkably in this industry, if the reader 
will consider the fact that the very earliest historians and 
poets and myth-makers record the names of all the well- 
established fruits and vegetables. No grain is a better 
evidence of this than maize. Payne says, " That the maize 
as we now have it is practically the creation of human 
labour and ingenuity is proved not only by the insignificant 
size of the euchloena grasses, the cognate wild species, but 
by its rapid deterioration if allowed to become feral; the 
first step of which is the familiar sodden corn of the American 
farmer." ' 

And this brings us, in the second place, to consider woods 
or timbers. Wood-workers at first began with the use of 
saplings, and as their descendants became more clever they 
attacked small trees and then larger ones. Where the sap- 
ling would not serve the purpose, there was always abundance 
of fallen timber, and the Arctic peoples relied upon drift 
wood. The savage woman was a collector of faggots, which 
she broke for her fire with her hands or with the great stone, 
ever near. Both she and her man early learned to sever 
the slender tree trunk by means of fire or a sharpened stone, 
whether to make a club, a tent-pole, or a handle. 

The very first settlers in New England observed that 
"The Indian houses are made of poles, large end in the 
ground, in a circle and bound at the top with the bark of 
walnut-trees, covered with sedge sewed together with the 
splinter of bone of a Cranes legge. Leaving several places 
for doors which are covered with mats which may be rolled 
up and let down with pleasure." ' These sewed mats will 
be referred to again under textiles. They are mentioned by 

* Payne, Hist, of America^ New York, 1892, vol. i. p. 337. 
^ Morton, New English Canaan y 1632, p. 19 ; also Bozman, Mary land ^ 
p. 70. 


John Smith, and are now made by the Indians of Washington 

Concerning the natives of North-west Canada, Hearne 
relates, " Agreeably to the Indians* proposal, we remained 
ten days, during which time my companions were busily 
employed (at their intervals from hunting) in preparing small 
staves of birch-wood, about one and a quarter inch square 
and seven or eight feet long. These serve as tent-poles all the 
summer while on the barren ground, and as the fall advances 
are converted into snow-shoe frames for winter use. . . . All 
the wood-work was reduced to its proper size for the][sake of 
making it light for carriage.'* ' 

None of these incidental avocations interfere with or 
retard the Indians in their journey, for they always take 
advantage of every opportunity which offers as they pass 
along, and when they see a tree fit for their purpose, cut it 
down, and either strip off the bark, if that be what they 
want, or split the trunk in pieces, and after hewing it roughly 
with their hatchet, carry it to the tent, where in the even- 
ings or in the mornings before they set out they reduce it 
with their knives to the shape and size which is required." 

The prettiest wood-working is done by the South Sea 
Islanders upon their clubs, paddles, and ceremonial adzes. 
To dig up the tree of the proper size, cut it off, dress it 
down, and prepare it for the carver was the work of the 
digging-stick, the adze, the scraper, and the sharp-grained 
rubbing-stone. As soon as the wood was sufficiently seasoned 
it was further hardened and dried by means of fire. The 
surface was heated enough to destroy the grain of the wood. 
The engraver then with a shark's tooth etched upon the 
surface a lace-work of geometric patterns, varied now and 
then with a bit of true sculpture. 

The Panamint Indians of California make their bows from 
the desert juniper {Juniper us calif ornica utahensis). The 
Indian prefers a piece of wood from the trunk or a limb of 
a tree that has died and seasoned while standing. At low 

» Hearne, yiwrw^y, <5r»f., London, 1795, p. 87. « Ibid,, op, cit,^ p. 280. 


altitudes in these desert mountains moist rot of dead wood 
never occurs. A mature tree subjected to the intensely 
drying heat of the region is in perfect condition for this use. 
The bow rarely exceeds three feet in length, and is strength- 
ened by glueing to its back a cover composed of strips of deer 
sinew laid lengthwise along it. The string is made of twisted 
sinew, or sometimes of cord prepared from Indian hemp. 
Arrows are made from the stems of the reed (Phragmites 
vulgaris) and from willow shoots. The shaft is about three 
and one half feet long. Nearly mature but still green leaves 
are cut, their leaves removed, and the stems dried and 

straightened m the hands before a fire In the straightening 
process use is often made of a small stone, across the face of 
which have been cut two grooves large enough to admit an 
arrow shaft. This stone is heated, and a portion of the 
crude arrow is laid in one of the grooves until it is hot. 
The cane is then straightened by holding it crosswise in the 
teeth and drawing the ends downward. By repeating this 
process throughout the whole length a marvellously straight 
arrow is produced. The head of the arrow is a pin of very 
hard wood, taken, I believe, from some species of Atriplex, 


or grease-wood. It is about five inches long, and tapers 
evenly to a blunt point. The base is inserted about three- 
fourths of an inch into the hollow of the reed, and rests 
against the uppermost joint. It is bound in place by a thin 
band of sinew. At each joint of the arrow-shaft is burned a 
ring of diagonal lines. The base of the shaft is notched and 
feathered with three half feathers, bound on with sinew, and 
slightly twisted to give the arrow a rotary motion. Willow 
arrow-shafts are " sand-papered by drawing the stick back- 
ward and forward in the angle between two flat stones held 
in the palm of the hand." ^ 

The drums of the Dinka are made by stretching a cleansed 
goat-skin over the broader, open end of a scooped-out piece 
of the trunk of a tree (mostly of the tamarind), and in the 
fashion of our drums, tightened by means of cross-straps 
strung together by a second skin covering the lower, massive 
end. Kettle-drums of similar build and identical shape 
are much used in the East Indies. Nor was ancient Egypt 
destitute of them.^ 

The " dug-out " drum has a very wide distribution. In 
looking over a large collection of musical instruments the 
reader will find that the dug-out drum was first a sonorous 
log, then a hollowed piece, then with one head, afterwards 
provided with two heads of membrane, and finally with 
tightening apparatus, while the cylinder underwent adaptive 

Besides the making of holes through wood, described in 
the Chapter on Tools, the ancient wood- workers needed often 
the help of a tube. 

In many of the Eskimo and North-west Coast pipes, 
the long stems are frequently crooked, and the problem 
is to bore, a curved or bent hole for the smoke. In some 
cases two holes are bored, one from the mouthpiece, another 
from the other end, these holes meeting about half way and 

* Coville, op. city p. 360. 

» Schweinftirth, Artes AfrUanae^ London, 1875, Sampson Low, p. i and 
fig. I. 


near the underside, making a very obtuse angle with each 
Other. The meeting of these holes is generally so near the 
underside of the stem that a small piece of ivory or wood is 
there let in, and may be removed to clean the pipe. At the 
butt-end a third hole is bored down upon the main perfora- 
tion to connect with the cavity in the bowl and the main 
perforation, and from this point outward is stopped with a 
plug. Another device of these cunning savages for per- 
forating their crooked pipe-stems is to split the stem and cut 
a half-round gash or furrow in each, so that when the two 
halves are brought together the gashes form a continuous 
tube. In so doing the carver at the same time often brought 
the cuts so near the surface at one place in the underside of 
the stem that a little trap-door could be let in neatly, and 
removed for the purpose of cleaning the pipe. When it is 
remembered that the boring of savages is generally done 
from two sides, it will be seen that we have only to elongate 
the auger bit to get the result. 

The sarbacan, or zarabatana, is made of two separate 
pieces of wood, in each of which is cut a semi-cylindrical 
groove, so that when they are placed in contact they form a 
long wooden rod pierced with a circular bore. The native 
use in this work the incisor teeth of rodents. The bore 
being carefully smoothed, the two halves are laid together 
and bound by means of a long, flat strip of jacita-wood 
wound specially around them. To the lower end is fastened 
a mouthpiece with a trumpet-shaped opening. Cement is 
then rubbed over the whole weapon, and it is ready for 

The manufacture of the blow-tube called pucuna is thus 
conducted in Guiana. The gigantic reed, Arundinaria 
Schomburcku\ furnishes the material. A straight piece, 
varying from eight to fourteen feet in length, is cut between 
two widely-separated nodes, and is thoroughly dried, first by 
the fire and then in the sun. To obviate warping the 
straight, slender stem of a palm is bored throughout its 

» Cf, Wood, Unciv, Races ^ Hartford, 1870, vol. ii. p. 583. 


length with a long pointed stick, and within this tube the 
reed is inserted to keep it straight. Peccary teeth are some- 
times fastened close together and parallel on the outside for 
sights. The darts for these tubes, and the curious manner 
of carrying and discharging them, will be described else- 

This blessed partnership between man and some special 
natural product is well explained by a note of Wallace con- 
cerning the bamboo : " Almost all tropical countries produce 
bamboos, and wherever they are found in abundance the 
natives apply them to a variety of uses. Their strength, 
lightness, smoothness, straightness, roundness, and hollow- 
ness, the facility and regularity with which they can be 
split, their many different sizes, the varying length of their 
joints, the ease with which they can be cut, and with which 
holes can be made through them, their hardness outside, 
their freedom from any pronounced taste or smell, their 
great abundance, and the rapidity of their growth and in- 
crease, are all qualities which render them useful for a 
hundred different purposes, to serve which other materials 
would require much more labour and preparation. The 
bamboo is one of the most wonderful and most beautiful 
productions of the tropics, and one of nature^s most valuable 
gifts to uncivilised man." ^ 

The midribs of the immense leaves of the sago palm in 
Ceram, and other Malayan islands, supply the place of 
bamboo. They are twelve to fifteen feet long, and often 
as thick in the lower part as a man^s leg. They are light, 
consisting entirely of a firm pith covered with a hard, 
thin rind. Entire houses are built of these ; they form 
excellent roofing poles for thatch ; split and well supported 
they do for flooring; and when chosen of equal size and 
pegged together they make neat panels for houses. In 

* Cf, im Thurn, op, city p. 3CX); cf. Wood, Unciv, Races ^ Hartford, 
vol. ii. pp. 583-90. 

^ Wallace, Malay Archipelago, New York, 1869, p. %T\ with many 
references to the plant and its uses. 



place of boards they do not shrink, require no paint or 
varnish, and are not a quarter the expense. When care- 
fully split and shaved smooth, they are formed into light 
boards, with pegs of the rind itself.'^ 

The bark of trees was a standard material among savages, 
for cloth and textiles, as will be seen, for all kinds of 
vessels used in housekeeping, for roofs, and for boats. The 
cedar, elm, and birch tree were indispensable to the tribes 
of Canada." In the tropical parts of South America the 
natives were very skilful in taking off enough bark to make 
a boat from a single piece, but the North American bark 
canoe was usually constructed of many pieces sewed together, 
and caulked with gum and pitch. The following detailed 
account is from Hearne : — 

"Immediately after our arrival at Clowey, the Indians 
began to build their bark canoes, and embraced every con- 
venient opportunity for that purpose ; but as warm and dry 
weather only is fit for this business, which was by no means 
the case at present, it was the 1 8th of May before the canoes 
belonging to my party could be completed. On the nine- 
teenth we agreed to proceed on our journey ; but Maton- 
abbee^s canoe meeting with some damage, which took near 
a whole day to repair, we were detained till the twentieth. 
Those vessels, though made of the same materials with 
the canoes of the Southern Indians, differ from them both 
in shape and construction ; they are also much smaller and 
lighter, and though very slight and simple in their con- 
struction, are nevertheless the best that could possibly be 
contrived for the use of those poor people, who are fre- 
quently obliged to carry them a hundred, and sometimes a 
hundred and fifty miles at a time, without having occasion 
to put them into the water. Indeed, the chief use of these 
canoes is to ferry over unfordable rivers, though sometimes, 
and in a few places, it must be acknowledged that they are of 

' Wallace, Malay Archipel^ New York, 1869, p. 382. 
' See HiAd*3 Canadian Red RiVer^ 6r»f., London, x86o, vol. i. pp. 200, 
203 ; vol. ii. p. 63, for tents covered with birch bark instead of skin 


great service in killing deer, as they enable the Indians to 
cross rivers and the narrow parts of lakes ; they are also 
useful in killing swans, geese, ducks, &c., in the moulting 
season. All the tools used by an Indian in building his 
canoe, as well as in making his snow shoes, and every other 
kind of wood-work, consist of a hatchet, a knife, a file, and 
an awl, in the use of which they are so dexterous that 
everything they make is executed with a neatness not to be 
excelled by the most expert mechanic, assisted with every 
tool he could wish."' 

The lightest and most easily-made boats in Guiana are 
" woodskins," made of the bark of the locust {Hymencea 
courbartl)^ or the purple heart (Copaifera puhiflora). A 
strip of bark of sufficient length is first carefully taken from 
a tree and cut to an oblong shape, the natural curve being 
accurately preserved. About two or three feet from each end 
a wedge-shaped piece, or gore, is cut from either side of the 
bark, the ends bent up until the edges of the gores meet, 
when they are sewed together with " bush rope/' This 
process raises the bow and stern at an angle, while the body 
of the craft floats parallel to the water-line. Sticks of 
strong wood are sometimes fastened around the gunwale. 
Pieces of squared bark are laid on the floor to serve as seats 
for passengers or rests for goods, and the craft is ready* 
These canoes are so light as to be portable around falls or 
obstructions to navigation. When not in use they are sunk 
in the water to prevent splitting or warping under the 
action of the sun. Paddles are hewn out of solid block or 
out of the board, like natural buttresses of the paddle tree 
{Aspidospermum excelsum). These paddles differ in form 
from tribe to tribe." On the Columbia river the Callispels, 
and on the Amoor the Giliaks, cut the gor6 so as to make 
the canoe bow and stern pointed under water. 

To make a bark canoe the Dyak goes to the nearest 
stringy bark tree, chops a circle round it at its base, and 

* HQZxTiQy Jour f ley i 6-'^., London, 1795, Strahan, p. 96. 
' Cf, im Thurn, Ind, of Br. Guiana, London, 1883, p. 2964 


another circle seven or eight feet from the ground ; he then 
makes a longitudinal cut on each side and strips off as much 
bark as is required. The ends are sewed up carefully and 
daubed up with clay, the sides being kept in position by 
cross pieces. The steering is performed by two greatly 
developed fixed paddles.'^ 

The natives of Gippsland, Australia, make a boat of a 
single sheet of the Eucalyptus strberiana^ the ends being 
tied up. The interior people use for the same purpose the 
bark from the convex side of a crooked tree, and stop the 
ends with balls of mud. They are propelled by poles and 
by means of a circular piece of bark, six inches in diameter, 
which is used as well to bail out the canoe. Two men with 
six hundred pounds of flour will cross a lake in one of these 
frail craft.^ 

The lumbermen among savages were no mean craftsmen. 
They knew the quality of every kind of tree around them^ 
and what its bark and timber were good for. Their art 
consisted in felling the trees, splitting them into the proper 
lumber, working this down to the desired object, and 
transporting either material. Their work was felling, 
riving, dressing, excavating, boring, smoothing, and carving 
wood. The Indians, the Negroid races, and the Malayo- 
Polynesians were, each in its way, most excellent wood- 
workers. Living on the sea or in the interior, they achieved 
remarkable results. 

" When the American Indians intended to fell a thick, 
strong tree," says Kalm, ** they set fire to a quantity of wood 
at the roots of the tree. But that the fire might not reach 
higher than they would have it, they fastened some rags to 
a pole, dipped them into water^ and kept continually wash- 
ing the tree a little above the fire. 

" Whenever they intended to hollow out a thick tree for a 
canoe they laid dry branches all along the stem of the tree, 
as far as it must be hollowed out. Then they put fire to 

* Ling Roth,y. Anthrop. Insi.y London, 1892, vol. xxii. p. 51. 
^ Consul-General Wallace, quoting Rev. John Bulmer. 


those dry branches, and as soon as they were burnt they 
were replaced by others. Whilst these branches were 
burning, the Indians were very busy with wet rags, and 
pouring water upon the tree to prevent the fire from spread- 
ing too far. The tree being burnt hollow as far as they 
think it sufficient, or as far as it could without damaging 
the canoe, they took their stone hatchets or sharp flints, or 
quartzes, or sharp shells, and scraped off the burnt part of 
the wood and smoothened the boats within. A canoe was 
commonly between twenty and thirty foot long.*' ' 

Dr. J. F. Snyder, who in 1850-1852, was living in Cali- 
fornia, saw the Indians of the north-western portion of the 
state fell a tree with stone axes. They began by hacking in 
through the bark, and a few of the annual layers with the 
edges of the axes, above and below a scarf two feet wide. 
With the butt end of the same axes they bruised these 
annual layers all around until they could work off a thin 
slao oy means of elk-horn wedges. They then hacked in as 
far as possible at the top and bottom of the scarf, pounded 
with the butt of their axes, as before, and removed another 
slab. This process they continued until the tree was felled. 
The work was done by the combined and continuous labour 
of many men. 

The joiner comes from a very ancient stock. In the 
Chapter on Tools mention is made of the inventions for 
clamping things temporarily, and also of the methods of 
effecting the permanent union of separate parts of an 
industrial product. Furthermore, the excavation of wood 
for all purposes was more fashionable at the first. This is 
so far true that all the north-west tribes of America do not 
make the sides of a box of separate pieces, but having taken 
a piece of board long enough for all the sides, they divide it 
by bevelled kerfs, cut crosswise nearly through. They then 
steam the board, bend it so as to have the kerfs inward, 
and unite the ends carefully with pegs. The work is very 
neatly done, so as to make the outside seem continuous. 

* Kalm, Travels^ <Sr»f., London, 1771, voL ii. p. 38. 


The carpenter and the whole class of house and furniture 
makers must look a long way back for ancestors. One of 
the most instructive chapters upon the savage man in part- 
nership with Nature in the evolution or elaboration of an 
invention is that upon house building among the Guiana 
Indians by im Thurn. " The houses are everywhere equally 
simple in structure, for the materials are everywhere much 
the same. Such differences as exist have evidently arisen 
in consequence of natural efforts to meet the special require- 
ments of each kind of situation. Three chief types of houses 
are distinguishable. The Warrau built on piles over water ; 
the Arawak and Caribs, sheltered from cold winds by the 
surrounding trees, built wall-less houses ; on the open savannah 
the Macusi erected habitations with thick walls of clay as a 
protection against the cold winds from the mountains. On 
hunting expeditions the natives erect temporary shelters or 
benabs, which may be a few leaves of some palm, laid flat 
one upon another, and the stalks, which are bound together, 
are stuck in the ground at such an angle that the natural 
curve of the leaf affords some shelter. A more pretentious 
benab is made by sticking three poles upright in the ground 
in the angles of a triangle, joining the tops by means of three 
cross-sticks, and laying over these a bunch of palm leaves. 
Thus it is easy to trace the development of house building 
among these Indians. 

" Their refined knowledge of plant craft is shown in the 
selection of the plants for thatch. The different leaves used 
do not signify different tribes at all, but each is the most 
easily attainable in its district. A trade was once carried 
on between the Indians and planters for the troolie palm 
(Manicarta sacciferd) leaves. It is a significant sign of their 
profound botanical knowledge that the savages have learned 
to adulterate the laths to which the leaves are attached by 
substituting the booba for the manicole palm because the 
former is more easily procured." ^ 

House building was a distinct trade in Samoa. On an 

' Jm Thurn, Ind* Br* Guian,^ London, 1883, cap. ix, 


average one among every three hundred men was a master 
carpenter. He had under him ten or twelve journeymen, 
who expected pay from him, and apprentices learning the 
trade. When a young man took a fancy to the trade he 
had only to go and attach himself to the staff of a master 
carpenter, and when he could point to a house that he 
had built, that set him up as a professed contractor. If 
a person wished a house built he offered a fine mat to a 
carpenter. If the latter accepted the mat he undertook the 
job. At an appointed time the carpenter came with his 
journeymen and apprentices, armed with axes and adzes 
having blades of shell and stone. The house owner pro- 
vided board and lodging, and he, assisted by his neighbours, 
did the carrying and lifting. No price was fixed beforehand ; 
it was left to the judgment, generosity, and means of the 
employer ; but it was a lasting disgrace on any one to have 
it said that he treated the carpenter shabbily. The entire 
tribe or clan was his bank, upon whom he might make 
demands. If the carpenter from any cause decamped, no 
other carpenter would finish it. The employer must come 
to terms with the contractor.'^ 

An example of aboriginal versatility is furnished in the 
efforts of the Tahitians to improve their dwellings to suit 
the exigencies of their new mode of life under the missionary. 
Ellis describes the lime-burning from coral in open ovens 
like those used in cooking in the Leeward Group. ** It was 
no easy task for them to build houses of this kind. Every 
man had to go to the woods or the mountains and cut down 
trees for timber, shape them into posts, &c., remove them 
to the spot where his house was to be built, then erect the 
frame with doorway and windows. This being done, he 
must again repair to the woods for long branches of hibiscus 
for rafters. The leaves of the pandanus were next gathered 
and soaked and sewed on reeds, with which the roof was 
thatched. This formerly would have completed the dwelling, 
but he had now to collect a large pile of firewood, to dig a 
' Cf, Turner, Samoa^ London, 1884, P* "^^1* 



lime pit, to dive into the sea for coral rock, to burn it, to 
mix it with sand so as to form mortar, wattle the walls and 
partitions of his house, and plaster them with limes. He 
then had to ascend the mountain again for trees which he 
must either split or saw into boards for flooring his apart- 
ments, manufacturing doors, windows, shutters, &c. 

Their invention and perseverance overcame the lack of 
nails, and they constructed their doors by fastening together 
three upright boards by means of three narrow pieces across 
by strong wooden pegs. The substitutes for hinges were 
also worthy of the most primitive inventors. Ellis's descrip- 
tion of the new style of architecture in progress is equal to 
Virgil's account of New Carthage.'^ 

The cabinet-maker and the wood-carver in house-building 
were actively at work in the polished stone age at least. An 
excellent example of fully-developed, geometric ornament is 
to be seen in a paper by James Sibree on types of carved 
ornamentation in wood employed by the Betsileo Malagasy 
in their burial memorials and their houses.® In discussing 
this paper Mr. Balfour said that " an examination of a large 
number of examples may reveal an interesting series of 
transitions, showing the evolution of the conventionalised, 
purely meaningless though decorative forms." But these 
earlier forms were not forthcoming, so the series appeared 
as the end of a development. 

In the great timber belt of South-eastern Alaska and 
British Columbia were developed handy lumbermen, and, 
indeed, the same is true of any other well-timbered area 
lying near the sea. The houses of these various stocks are 
communal. They are built of immense logs and puncheons. 
The trees, after being felled, were carefully split into planks 

' Ellis, Polynesian Researches ^ London, 1859, p. 345-49. The Navajo 
Indians have been modifying their hogans to harmonise with the fashions 
set by different army headquarters built about their reservation. . 

^ Sibree,y. Anthrop, Inst., London, 1892, vol. xxi., pis. 16 and 17. These 
marvellous patterns should be compared with those of Polynesia and middle 


and dressed down with adzes and chisels of stone. The 
carpenter and the wood-carver had full opportunity for the 
development of their talents. But it was upon their canoes 
that the natives spent most time and skill. Among the 
boat-building Californians and West Coast people, as soon 
as the tree was felled, the top was burned off at a proper 
distance to allow plenty of log for the dug-out canoe. 

The outside of the craft was hewn to proper shape by 
means of stone axes and adzes, and all who have seen the 
work of these stone tools have been astonished at the regu- 
larity of the little polygonal scars looking like an engraving 
over the entire surface. 

The hollowing out was done by burning. Fat pine knots 
were gathered in the greatest abundance, and little fires 
were kindled on the upper surface of the log. To feeS them, 
to check their course by means of green bark and mud and 
water, to remove the fires when the ashes at the bottom 
checked their course, to broom away the debris of the 
flames, and, with flat, circular, or leaf-shaped flints, to dig 
out the charred portions down to unburnt wood, constituted 
a round of labour whose quick repetition would rough out 
the canoe. 

Nowadays we should proceed with augers instead of little 
fires, and adzes of steel and mallets and chisels ; but every 
one of us has seen the country blacksmith boring holes with 
a hot iron rod, and, furthermore, there were no augers in 
those days. The borer with fire had to come before the 

The log once hollowed, or during the last steps in hollow- 
ing it, the naval architect busied himself about his lines. He 
knew by a kind of cruel " selection " which the sea had been 
practising upon his ancestors that the fittest crafts survive. 
He did not reason it out in that way ; he thought that his 
gods required him to build thus and so, or they would be 
angry with him and send him to the bottom. It amounts 
to the same thing ; the voice of Nature is the voice of God, 
and the ship carpenter went to work to shape his craft. An 


old sea captain, J. W. Collins, of the United States Fish 
Commission, who is considered the best authority in the 
world on the building of fishing vessels, informed the writer 
one day, as we were looking at a splendid specimen of these 
West Coast cedar dug-outs, that he could hardly improve 
on her lines for the water in which she had to work. 

To effect this object, that is, to get the hollow log into 
ship-shape, the boatwrights required these — plenty of water 
and hot stones. The log was filled with water, and all her 
chinks stopped with shredded bark and hot pitch. Red-hot 
stones were thrown into this queer cauldron, and the water 
kept at the boiling point until, with spreading and contract- 
ing, the gunwale had exactly the right curves at every point, 
and was securely lashed. The water and stones were removed, 
the vessel dried out, and the polishing and painting com- 
pleted the operation. This craft was moved by means of 
paddles with crutch handles, giving the rower great power 
as he dug his way through the water. The number of 
rowers was limited only by their convenience in standing 
or kneeling. No rudder, was used, and generally no steering 
paddle different in form from the rest. For sails, mats made 
of the shredded bark of the cedar, similar in form and texture 
with those laid on the floors of the long houses, were fastened 
to a cross-yard, and at their lower corners were held by 
sheets of cedar bark rope. These sails were used only in 
going before the wind, and the navigators were never so 
expert as those of the Polynesian Islands. The outfit of the 
craft will be noticed in a chapter on the capture of animals. 
It will be sufficient to say that the fish-hooks are carved 
from wood ; and the club for killing halibut is often a work 
of art. The lines are excellent twine of native hemp and 
cedar bark and spruce root. The boxes for holding imple- 
ments and clothing and the images of the gods on the bow 
and the stern of the boat do credit to the skill of the cabinet- 
maker and the sculptor. 

** The probable cause of the absence of boats in Central 
California is the scarcity of suitable, favourably-located 


timber. Doubtless, if the banks of the Sacramento and the 
shores of San Francisco Bay had been lined with large 
straight pine or fir trees, their waters would have been filled 
with canoes.*^ ^ 

In the canoe or pirogue country of Columbus and his 
compatriots, the wood-workers were men. The axes, scrapers, 
and chisels of stone, which once formed their whole stock 
of wood-working implements, have given place to the steel 
axe, the cutlass, and the knife. And the Indian is capable 
of building a house, hewing a beautiful neat boat, stool, or 
other such article from a block of wood without the use of 
any other implement beyond his axe and cutlass. When a 
canoe is to be made a suitable tree is carefully sought in the 
forest, often as much as two miles from the nearest water. 
The tree is felled, and roughly hewed on the spot into the 
shape of the required canoe. It is then hollowed partly by 
* chopping and partly by burning. A path through the 
bush to the waterside is then cleared and laid with cross 
pieces as runners, or like a corduroy, and the canoe is dragged 
to the waterside. The sides of the boat are forced apmrt in 
several ways. Sometimes the canoe is inverted over a 
fire till the action of the heat spreads the sides ; sometimes 
it is filled with wet sand, the weight of which eventually 
forces the sides outward ; and sometimes the canoe is sunk 
in running water, and when the wood is pliant, the sides 
are forced asunder by driving large wedge-shaped pieces of 
timber in between them. As soon as the sides have been 
spread, bars of hard wood, about an inch and a half in 
diameter, are fixed firmly across within the canoe from side 
to side, so as to prevent the sides from approaching each 
other. Two triangular pieces of plank-like wood are then 
cut and fitted into the gaps at bow and stern. The sides 
and ends are raised by the addition of a plank or extra 
" streak." The seams are caulked with shreds scraped from 
the inner bark of certain trees, and patched with resin 
(from Icta hetaphylld) or with karamanni, an adhesive 

» Bancroft, Native Races^ New York, 1874-6, vol. i. p. 385. 


pitch or glue from the Siphonia bacculifera. The Caribs of 
St. Vincent make canoes in much the same manner.* 

The making of a canoe, from the first act of selecting a 
tree in the wilderness to its final consecrating and launching 
when fully rigged, was in Hawaii, at all times and at every 
step, under the watchful eye of the kahinia^ whose duty 
it was to see that no pains or expense was spared, no 
ceremony omitted, to propitiate the favour of the gods who 
had the power, if so desired, to bring good luck to the waa 
and all who might sail in it. 

It should be borne in mind that the various migrations 
or hekes of the ancient Polynesians, and their progenitors, 
must have been accomplished in canoes, and that the 
waa^ the pahi^ &c., of historic and modern times are the 
lineal descendants of the seagoing craft in which the early 
ancestors of these same people made their voyages genera- 
tions ago.^ 

The Polynesian canoe is described by Ellis. The keel 
was formed with a number of tough pieces of temanu 
wood ijnophyllum callophyllutn) twelve or sixteen inches 
broad, and two inches thick, hollowed on the inside and 
rounded without, so as to form a convex angle along the 
bottom of the canoe ; these were fastened together by lacings 
of tough elastic cord made from the fibres of the cocoanut 
husk. On the front end of the keel, a solid piece, cut 
out of the trunk of a tree, so contrived as to constitute the 
forepart of the canoe, was fixed with the same lashing ; 
and on the upper part of it, a thick board or plank pro- 
jecting horizontally in a line parallel with the surface of the 
water. This front piece, • usually five or six feet long, and 
twelve or eighteen inches wide, was called the nose of the 
canoe, and without any joining comprised the stem, bows, 
and bowsprit of the vessel. 

The sides of the canoe were composed of two lines of 

* Cf, im Thurn, Ittdians of British Guiana^ London, 1883, p. 292. 
^ Consult N. B. Emerson, " The Long Voyages of the Ancient 
Hawaiians," Hawaiian Hist* Soc, May 18, 1893. Papers, No. 5. 


short plank, an inch and a half or two inches thick. The 
lowest line was convex on the outside and nine or twelve 
inches broad : the upper one straight. The stern was 
considerably elevated, the keel was inclined upwards, the 
lower part of the stern was pointed, while the upper was 
flat, and nine or ten feet above the level of the sides. 

The whole was fastened together with sennit, not con- 
tinued along the seams, but by two, or, at most, three holes 
made in each board, within an inch of each other, and 
corresponding holes made in the opposite piece, and the 
lacing put through from one to the other. A space of nine 
inches or a foot was left, and then a similar set of holes 
made. The joints or seams were not grooved together, but 
the edge of one simply laid on that of the other, and fitted 
with remarkable exactness by the adze of the workman, 
guided only by his eye ; they never use line or rule. The 
edges of the plank were usually covered with a kind of 
pitch or gum from the breadfruit tree, and a thin layer 
of cocoanut husks spread between them, which swell when 
in contact with water, and fill any apertures that may 

The two canoes were fastened together by strong curved 
pieces of wood, placed horizontally across the upper edges or 
gunwales, to which they were fixed by strong lashings of 
thick coiar cordage.* 

In Samoa any one could make a common fishing canoe 
to hold one or two men. But the keeled canoe was the 
work of professed carpenters. The keel was laid in one piece 
twenty-five to fifty feet long, and to that boards were added, 
by sewing each close to its fellow, until the sides were raised 
about three feet from the ground. These boards were a 
number, of pieces and patches eighteen inches to five feet 
long, as the wood split up from the log might suit. Each 
board was hollowed like a trough, leaving a rim all round the 
edge which was to be inside. And through these rims 

' Ellis, Polynes. Researches , London, 1859, vol. i. p. 155, with further 
account of the varieties of canoes and of the manner of propulsion. 


where they joined they bored holes, and with sennit they 
sewed one board to another. The sewing, therefore, appeared 
only on the inside. All was well fastened together, and, with 
the help of gum from the breadfruit tree, made perfectly 
water-tight. Timbers, thwarts and gunwale were added to 
make all firm, and a deck built over the bow and the stern, 
under which things could be stored. As the width of the canoe 
was only eighteen to thirty inches an outrigger was necessary. 
This was made by fastening beams across the canoe, so that 
they might project some distance out from one side. To the 
end of each projecting beam were made fast small sticks 
descending toward the water, and to their lower ends was 
fastened a long thin piece of wood sharp at the end to cut 
through the water, and floating on the surface parallel to 
the boat. 

The canoes were propelled by paddles, not by oars, the 
rowers facing the bow. The sails of matting were triangular, 
set with the base upward. Rows of white shells were used 
in decorating the craft, and carved images of human beings, 
animals, or mythic beings, formed the figure-head.^ 

The Dyaks hollow their canoes out of a single log by 
means of fire and adzes. They are guided only by the eye. 
When the shell is completed thwarts are inserted, and 
planks or gunwales are stitched to the sides, the seams 
being caulked with sago stems which are porous and swell 
when wet. Each of the gunwales is laced on by flaxen 
cords, and united to the opposite plank by the thwarts. 
The canoe is alike at both ends, which are pointed and 
curved upward. There is no keel, nor ribs, nor figure-head.^ 
Man states that the average time spent on the Andamanese 
dugout canoe is that of about eight men for a fortnight. 

' Cf, Turner, Satfioa, London, 1884, chap. xiv. 

^ Ling Roth,y. AtUhrop, InsL^ London, 1892, chap. xxii. p. 51. 



" Who can find a virtuous woman ? for her price is far above rubies. 
She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 
She layeth her hand to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff." 

Proverbs of Solomon, 

The Apaches call the Navajos spiders, in allusion to their 
beautiful weaving ; and on the breasts of skeletons in the 
mounds of Tennessee have been found shell gorgets upon 
which spiders are engraved.^ It is not known that the 
person whose skeleton was there entombed had been really 
a weaver, but copper implements wrapped in coar«e cloth 
were found hard by, and on much of the pottery exhumed 
from the Tennessee graves are marks of basketry. There is 
no objection to calling the spider gorget the trade badge of 
the dead one. 

The textile art is older than the human species. For not 
only spiders and many caterpillars drew out extremely fine 
threads, but birds wove nests long before man^s advent on 
earth. And, most significant of all, in tropical lands 
especially, trees and plants fabricated cloth, which men 
have worn from time immemorial, and on it they have also 
preserved their thoughts. There is no reason to doubt that 
the very first women were weavers of a crude kind, and that 
the textile art has been with us always in one form or 

' For illustration of spider on shell gorget, see Holmes in Third An, 

Rep, Bur, Ethnol,^ p. 466, fig. 141. 



This department of industry is to be studied in its 
materials, in the tools and processes employed, in its pro- 
ducts as to their form and use. Without committing our- 
selves to any theory of evolution in the art, it will be 
convenient to notice first the various types of bark cloth, 
basketry, and matting as not involving the spindle. Then 
the textile art proper may be considered under the topics of 
yarn, thread and braid, weaving, looping, netting, and 
embroidery. All of this will serve to show that the savage 
has not been idle in the development of fibres. 

Mela says that the Germans were clothed in winter only 
with the sagtim (a kind of poncho), or with the bark of 
trees. ^ It is difficult to understand what is meant by this 
phrase. The Germans lived too far north to be successful 
in making their shirts from the bast, or inner bark, of trees 
indigenous to Northern Europe. The Aryan race as a whole 
are not known to have clothed themselves thus. The bast 
of temperate zone plants, hemp, flax, cedar, has a fibre that 
shreds easily into filaments which may be spun. 

Bark cloth may be seen in any museum from Central and 
South America, from Africa and from Polynesia. The art 
of pounding the bast, or inner bark of a tree, whose fibrous 
strands do not lie parallel, as in textile plants, but are inter- 
laced inextricably, is of very wide extent racially. Three 
out of the five great types of mankind practice it — the 
American, the Negroid, and the Malay o-Polynesian. The 
cloth, so called, manufactured in this way is quite durable, 
and much more expeditiously made than any produced by 

In Polynesia the bast of the paper mulberry and of the 
breadfruit is chiefly used. The process involves several 
discoveries and inventions worthy of notice. The outer 
rind was scraped off" with a shell ; the inner bark was then 
slightly beaten and allowed* to ferment, or was macerated in 
water. Upon a long, smooth log the bast was then beaten 
with a heavy mallet of Casuarina wood. This mallet was 

* Mela, De Situ Orbisy vol. iii. p. 3. 



square in cross section, and each side grooved — one with very 
coarse, the opposite with fine ridges ; a third side was some- 
times plain, a fourth cut into checker patterns. Each of these 
sides was useful in spreading out the texture, removing the 
pulpy matter, and giving the appearance of textile work. 
The cloth was dried and bleached in the sun. For colouring 
a variety of vegetable dyes were used. Nature supplied the 
pattern. The natives selected some of the most delicate 
and beautiful ferns or the hibiscus flowers. When the dye 
was prepared the leaf or flower is laid carefully on the dye. 
As soon as the surface was covered with the colouring matter 
the stained leaf or flower was fixed on the cloth and pressed 
regularly down. Many of the patterns were printed on in 
regular designs, worked out on a surface of palm leaf with 
little bits of stem sewed on in geometric figures. The 
stronger kinds of cloth were covered with a brown or black 
varnish, which made the texture tougher, and also water- 

For colouring their bark or tapa cloth, the natives of the 
Society Islands used a variety of vegetable dyes. Among 
them the bark of the Casuarina and Alcuritcs^ giving a 
dark red or chocolate colour. Brilliant red was prepared by 
mixing the milky juice of the berry of Ficus prolixa with 
the leaves of a species of Cordia, When prepared the dye 
was absorbed on the fibres of a kind of rush and dried for use. 
When covered with a varnish of gum it retained its bright- 
ness until the garment was worn out. Yellow was prepared 
from the inner bark of the root of Morinda ciirifulia. An 
infusion of the bark in water was made, and the cloth soaked 
therein and then dried in the sun." 

The tapa beating of the Hawaiians is minutely described 
in a catalogue of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. The 
material is the bark of the paper mulberry (Brouaaonctia 
papyri/era)^ but half a dozen other plants are occasionally 

' Ellis, Polynes* Res»y vol. i. pp. 17S-185, giving a detailed and excellent 
account of tapa beating. 

^ Ellis, op. ctt,y vol. i. p. 182. 

THE tE^dTiLE Industry. 4^7 

substituted. The apparatus consisted of a log or aiivil, a 
series of mallets, calabashes of water and of mucilage, dye 
stuffs, and tools or stamps for decorating. The anvil was *a 
log of hard wood, about six feet long, hewn to a flat surface 
three inches wide at top, and hollowed longitudinally under 
neath. This was supported on two stones. Of clubs there 
was a variety ; round for the first beating, and flat for the 
finishing. Ornamented beaters had longitudinal grooves cut 
at varying distances apart on the four sides, and in others 
these parallels were cut by othet* grooves at right angles, or 
undulating patterns were engraved. From scions of the 
paper mulberry the bark was stripped in lengths of about six 
feet, and two inches wide. These strips were dried until the 
sap was wholly evaporated, and they were then stored for 
future use, either with the outer bark still on or after this 
had been removed by scraping on a smooth board with a 
plate of shell or of bone. 

When to be used the strips were soaked in water and 
beaten with the round club on a smooth stone until the 
fibres were felted together. The strips were then soaked 
again and beaten on the log, strip was welded to strip until 
sheets of a surface 125 square feet was obtained. The 
peculiar '* water marks ''to be seen in tapa were given by 
the patterns carved on the decorated beaters. The colour- 
ing of the tapa was effected in various ways. Previously 
pulped material of various colours was beaten in, or the 
fabric was dyed after it was beaten. When the pigments 
were to be applied locally they were ground in oil in a stone 
mortar and applied by cords, by pens, by brushes, and by 
dies. Waterproof kapa or tapa was saturated with the oil of 
the cocoanut.^ 

The Hawaiians excelled all other peoples in the world 
in their bark cloths. This remark applies to the fine- 
ness of the product, the diversity of lines beaten into the 
texture, and to the variety of ornamentation added to the 
surface. Many of the varieties have special names, and a 
C/l Brigham, Cat, Bishop MuseUfU^ Honolulu, 1892, p. 23. 


collectiuii of them all would fill an enormous album, giving 
one page to each. 

The bark cloth of Africa and of Tropical America are 
much simpler in construction than that of Polynesia. In 
neither of the continents is there any overlaying or uniting 
of pieces. Each garment is made, so to speak, of the whole 
piece. *'The Warraus of Guiana make the lap and the queytiy 
the breech clout and the * fig leaf ^ apron, of the inner bark 
of the Lccythis ollaria^ which is beaten until it is compara- 
tively soft, and of the texture of thick rough cloth." ^ All 
over the Andes the tribes use this bark cloth as a body on 
which they sew feathers, teeth, beetles^ wings, bones, and 
other decorative objects. 

In making the African varieties a piece of bark about six 
feet long, and as wide as possible, is detached from the 
trunk of a tree. The outside rind is pared off with a lance- 
head used with two hands, like a cooper's drawing knife. 
The bark is then laid upon a beam oi wood, on which it is 
hammered with a mallet grooved in fine cuts, so that the 
repeated blows stamp the bark with lines somewhat re- 
sembling corduroy. This cloth turns brown by exposure, 
and is dyed or ornamented in black with water from iron 
springs. Uganda is celebrated for this curious production.'' ^ 

By the general term " basketry " is meant all kinds of 
woven vessels in which the materials are not spun. But 
there is also a large class of flat textiles, made up precisely 
after the same fashions as basketry, commonly designated 
" matting." Basketry and matting together constitute a 
most important division of savage invention. They are the 
one art that is more beautiful among the uncivilised. 
Enlightened nations express their aesthetic conceptions in 
lace and cloths and embroideries, the savage woman gives 
vent to her sense of beauty in basketry.3 

* Im Thurn, Indians of British Guiana, London, 1883, p. 194. 

= Sir Samuel W. Baker, IsmaUia, New York, 1875, pp. 328, 350. 

3 For a minute description of all the styles of savage basketry see the 
author's paper in Smithsonian Report^ 1883, part ii., pp. 291-306, pi. 


To the unobservant, a basket is a basket, and that is all 
there is about it But to the technographer the materials, 
methods, and products of this art form an excellent guide to 
peoples or tribes. Almost every type of basketry is con- 
fined to a single tribe, or to a very restricted area. From a 
textile point of view baskets are divided into two great 
classes — the woven and the sewed or stitched — and it will 
be necessary to look with a little care at each to comprehend 
how much original human thought has been bestowed 
upon this industry, both in very ancient times and in our 

The most simple form of 
woven basketry can be seen 
in the work of the Algon- 
kian and Iroquoian Indians 
of the Eastern United States, 
made of thin strips or 
splints of ash, beech, oak, 
or hickory, all of uniform 
thickness and width, and 
forming a rude warp and 
woof like the threads in 
common Manchester cotton 

Improvement on this 
very plain style, seen to perfection in the cedar-bark stuffs 
of North-west America, may be made by varying some of 
the strips or splints in width and colouring a portion of 
them. This would give the beautiful Polynesian palm and 
pandanus ware, a great deal found in America, besides much 
of the mat-work the world over. 

The next step, the next patent we should say, consisted in 
carrying the weft splints over and then under two or more 
warp splints at a time. Beautiful examples of this are to be 
found in Guiana and Northern South America, and it is 
exquisitely done in African matting. The Salishan tribes of 
Washington make thin, narrow splints of birchwood, froni 



which to weave their waltets for holding fish ; while the 
Cherokees, Choctaws, and other Southern Indians of the 
United States employed the split cane dyed in two colours. 
But they all understood the overlapping, producing a 
diagonal or diaper pattern. 

Still keeping within the limits of plain weaving, there is 
a quite different effect, called wicker-work, which one may 
see, in some material, in any market-house in the world. 
It seems to be the universal heritage from savagery. 
This work consists in using a rigid warp and a flexible 
weft as in corded silk weav- 
ing. The Moki Indians of 
the Pueblo of Oraibi gather 
the twigs of the "grease 
bush" and strip off the 
rough bark. This yields 
filaments only a few inches 
long, but by colouring these 
and weaving them in and 
out over a warp of twigs 
the Moki produce a basket- 
tray which is highly prized 
by collectors ; but the mani- 
pulation is precisely similar 
to that in our coal and oyster 
baskets and the old-fashioned farm crates, or the wicker- 
work around a demijohn. The Zufii Indians make their 
peach-baskets in a similar fashion, and there is little doubt 
that they and the Moki were instructed by the same teachers. 
It is a fact worthy of attention here that this one Moki 
Pueblo of Oraibi in North-eastern Arizona is the only spot 
west of the Rocky Mountains where this wicker-work is 
practised. The people belong to the Shoshonean stock, 
who, outside this Pueblo, practise another style. In fact, 
the Oraibi Indians make two kinds of baskets essentially 
different from those of their blood kindred, the Utes, and 
they do not weave the Ute basket at all. 


There is a style of woven basketry that a patent examiner 
might declare to be derived from the wicker just described. 
Indeed, it is a kind of double wicker. But its stitch or 
mesh is found on the oldest pottery, in very ancient graves, 
and in the Kilima-Njaro country, as well as all over 
America. The most simple and rudimentary specimen of 

this type is the wattling fence, in which two pieces of brush 
are woven among a row of stakes and twisted into a two-ply 
rope at the same time. In basketry this is called twined- 
weaving. Two weft fillets or twigs are carried along at the 
same time between the warp elements, only they alternate 
in passing each other above and below so as to make a 
twine. If all the warp sticks were pulled out, these two 


weft strands would be twined together, as in a two-ply 
thread, continuously from beginning to end. 

If the elements are whole, or split osier or other twigs, 
the work will be open and strong, as in the Pacific Coast 
large basket. If the elements are fine root, or grass, or bast, 
or spun thread, or yarn, the work wilt be fine and close, like 
doth, and will hold water. 

The Eskimo of the Peninsula of Alaska and the Aleuts 
produce most dainty ware in this stitch from the stem of 
the Elymiis, while their coarser work resembles so closely 
specimens brought 
home by Dr. W. E. 
Abbott from Kilima- 
Njaro that only an ex- 
pert would detect the 
difference by the mate- 
rial employed. From 
the Mandingo country 
also rigid baskets are 
in the same style. 

The North Ameri- 
can Indians, living 
wherever the Apocy- 
num cannnbiimm grew, 
Fig. 4S.~A1eutian Basketry, showinfi twined "^^^ ^^'^ pliable sacks 
weaving on split watp filamenls. Or wallets in this stitch, 

and impressions of it 
are found on pottery fragments from the Atlantic states, 
and robes of turkey down and of rabbit skin in the same 
pattern come from the cHff dwellings. But the most 
exquisite productions in this stitch are to be seen on the 
West Coast of the United States, from Mount St. Elias to 
the Bay of San Francisco, where it suddenly gives place 
to a variety entirely different in structure. 

The T'lingit ware about Sitka may be taken as the best 
representative of twined basketry. It is made of the roots 
of the spruce, carefully cleaned and split. Those who have 




seen the operation say that the women use no other tool 
than a mussel-shell and no other gauge than their thumb- 
nail to secure uniformity in the splints. This is almost 
incredible, so regular do the surfaces of the best pieces of 
basketry appear. The warp is set up with a view to the 
size and form of the wallet to be made. The weft splints 
are then twined between the warp splints and pushed as 
close home as possible, producing a watertight structure. 
Bands and lines of ornament are produced by means of dyed 
splints. When two strands of different colours are worked 
together the alternate appearance and disappearance of each 
one gives a spotted line, and the management of the 
succeeding lines with respect to this one gives the artiste an 
unlimited resource of decoration. 

But this is not the end of her tether. An inspection of a 
piece of this ware will show that every stitch in the weaving 
is double, one part being outside, the other inside, the warp 
splint. It is possible, therefore, by means of coloured 
grasses and bark to embroider the outside of the vessel 
without affecting the inside, and this indeed is done in such 
manner as to produce most wonderful effects. 

The tribes of Vancouver Island and of Cape Flattery vary 
from this style somewhat, in that they have three sets of 
elements ; but two are rigid and only one is flexed in 
weaving. The process is exactly that of wire bird-cages. 
An upright series of fillets form the warp, a second piece 
is carried around inside and coiled against the warp, and the 
third is wrapped around the other two spirally at every 
point where the coiled piece intersects one of the warp 
pieces. This gives to the outside the same appearance as 
is to be seen on the back of a watch. By using different 
coloured grasses, geometric patterns of great variety and 
beauty are produced. 

In all the range of basketry there is none other so pretty 
as that of the northern tribes of South America, made 
nowadays by men. The beauty of the work lies in its 
extreme chasteness of design and colour. The body is done 



in Splints of the reed-like stem of maranta {rtchnostphon). 
These are very uniform in size and are woven in diaper and 
diagonal fashion, the brownish or amber-colour of the wood 
being variegated with simple but very decorative geometric 
figures in black. There are multitudes of tribes in other 
parts of the world who make finer baskets and put more 
work upon them, but for chaste beauty those of this region 

The Andaraanese basket is made of the rattan or cane of 
the country. The stalks are cut into lengths of about four 
feet, the cuticle is peeled 
] off and divided into 
■ strips of uni- 
,■ form width, and the 
remainder is split up 
into convenient pieces. 
The .style of weaving is 
similar to the Ameri- 
can. The maker gives 
a " kick " to the bottom 
of his basket by scoop- 
ing a hole in tlie 
ground, pressing the 
framework into it with 
his heel until he has 
proceeded far enough, 
the frame sticks are 
then reversed and the work goes on to completion. The 
rims are finished off with a piece of Uvaria micrantha, 
and the handles made of the bark of Melochia vclutina.^ 
The second class of basketry work is the coiled or sewed 
ware. Its afllinities are not with weaving at all, but with 
sewing. The savages, in making garments of skin, whip 
two edges together, as carpet -sewers do, by means of sinew 
thread. That is, the sewing progresses in a continuous 
spiral of thread. 

' Mnn, a( jw^ra, p. l6z. 

Fig. 46.— Detail of " Birdcage " Slitch ir 
Basketry, Vancouver Island. (U.S.Nat. 


After this fashion the peoples of the Far East, of every 
stock in Africa, and in all parts of America make coiled 
basketry, the material each time modifying the method of 
working and the appearance. The best idea of this class 
of work can be gathered from the simplest examples, the 
first patents, to use the modern phrase. These may be seen 
in Further India or in North-western Canada among the 
Athapascans. The elements are a stiff root or rod for the 
fundamental coil, and a soft splint or strip of the same material 
for the sewing. In making her basket, the woman starts 
in the centre of the bottom, coiling the rod and wrapping it 
as she proceeds with the split root or rattan, so as to bind it 
to the preceding turn, drawing her splint between the 
spirals. When the rod comes to an end, she neatly splices 
the end to that of a new one and proceeds as before, care- 
fully concealing the joint. When the splint is exhausted, 
the end is tucked in behind the spiral and another one 
started in the same manner, but so carefully joined as to 
defy detection. The Siamese do not decorate ware of this 
kind, and much of the spruce-root coiled ware from Canada 
and Alaska is severely plain. But further south in British 
Columbia and Washington, bits of birch-bark, straw, or 
quill are doubled over the splint on the outside of the 
basket and the two ends concealed under succeeding stitches 
so as to give an imbricated effect in many colours. Nothing 
in basketry could be more beautiful, and when it is re- 
membered that every stitch is covered by one of these loops, 
some conception may be formed of the immense number in 
a single piece. 

Now, to vary the foregoing, some tribes insert a strip or 
tough material between the coiled rods and reeve the sewing 
splint between this and the preceding coil. This makes a 
water-tight joint ; so ware of this sort is commonly used for 
boiling food by means of hot stones. The Eskimo use a 
small wisp of grass for a rod. The Oregon Indians use osier 
and rhus^ and the California tribes, who make the most 
beautiful ware in the world, employ Vilfn^ sciri>ns^ snh'x^ 


and pine-roots. All their basket botany has not been made 

The wonderful uniformity of the coil and the sewing 
splint in the California basketry is not due to the possession 
of delicate machinery for dressing the material. Delicate 
machinery was devised to make things cheap. Knack and 
a strong thumb-nail achieve the result, A bone awl is the 
needle, a true eye, a genuine pride in her work, and a 
skilful hand do the rest. Patience indeed has her perfect 
work, for there is one of these beautiful baskets in the 
United States National 
Museum which employed a 
I Hupa woman every spare 
I moment during three years 
k to finish it. In the Moki 
\ Pueblos, all over Middle 
J America, and throughout 
I Africa, finely stripped yucca 
palm-leaf is used in sew- 
. ing, but the method is the 
same. Decoration is effected 
by dyeing portions of the 
-.J. 47-De.ailofCoilo<lB^ketr>-, strips used in sewing, by 
Soulh-weslern United .States. (l^.S. employing the front and the 
JVh/. Mmeiim.) ijg^.^ gf certain leaves alter- 

nately and by choosing straws and leaves and other sections 
of plants of different colours. Maidenhair fern, martynia 
pods, rushes, grass stems, fibre soaked in muddy water, and 
all sorts of expedients are resorted to in order to produce 
the greatest embellishment. 

A variety of stitch is carried out in the spiral sewing by 
taking a half-turn around the splint or fillet at each round 
between the coils. This is seen not only on pretty 
Japanese lunch baskets, but also on the fish-baskets made 
of rushes by the Fuegians, They are the only American 
savages who employ this style of basket-work. 

" The Panamint squaws, in Death's Valley, California^" 

I'riE fKXtlLE LNDUStKY. ^3/ 

says Covillc, '* make their -basketry at the cost of a great 
deal of time, care, and skill. The materials are the year-old 
shoots of tough willow {Sah'x lasiandni) and aromatic 
sumac {Rhus tnlobata)^ the horn of the mature pods of 
the unicorn plant (Martynia prohoscidea)^ and the long red 
roots of the tree yucca ( Yucca hrcvifolid). These give three 
colours, the red, the black, and the white. Sumac and 
willow are thus prepared. The bark is removed from the 
fresh shoots by biting it loose at the end and tearing it off. 
The woody portion is scraped to remove inequalities, and 
is then allowed to dry. These slender pieces are for the 
warp or foundation. The weft splints are prepared from 
the same plants. A squaw selects a fresh shoot, breaks off 
the too slender upper portion, and bites one end so that it 
starts to split into three nearly equal parts. Holding one 
of these parts in her teeth, and one in either hand, she 
pulls them apart, guiding the splits with her fingers so 
dexterously that the whole shoot is divided into three 
equal even portions. Taking one of these, by a similar 
process she splits off the pith and the adjacent less flexible 
tissue from the inner face, and the bark from the outer, 
leaving a pUant, strong, flat strip of young willow or sumac 
wood. The weaving of the basket is begun at the bottom 
with two layers of warp twigs fastened by their middles at 
right angles. The free ends are bent upward, and in and 
out between them the splints are woven. [Mr. Coville 
fails to notice that the twined style of weaving is followed.] 
The free ends are bent upward and concealed in the 
weaving. As the basket widens new warp twigs are in- 
serted. Ornamentation is produced by retaining the back, 
or by staining them, and by varying the manipulation in 
the weaving. A squaw commonly occupies an entire month 
constructing one basket." ' 

The Panamints make their pot baskets and plates as 
follows : they are built up with willow and sumac strands 
as above described, but narrower and of finer quality. 

* Coville, Am, Anthrop.'i Washington, 1893, vol. v. p. 358* 


Similar strands of martynia pods, and the long-jointed, 
slender stems of a native grass (Epicampcs rigens) are 
also needed. The grass is particularly adapted to the use 
from its firm texture and the fact that the portion above 
the uppermost joint is very often eighteen inches long. 

Starting from a central point, a bundle of two or three 
grass stems and one very slender withe are -sewn by a 
willow splint to the part already finished. At the proper 
point the bundle is drawn more tightly, so that the 
remainder of the spiral forms the sides of the basket. The 
punctures for the sewing are now made with an iron awl, 
but the aboriginal tool is a stout horny cactus spine from 
the devil's pincushion [Echinocactus polycephalus)^ set in a 
head of hard pitch. The grass stems, when the stitches are 
drawn tightly, make a perfect packing, and the basket when- 
finished is watertight. Patterns are produced by substi- 
tuting strands of martynia pod for willow in the sewing.' 

Mr. Coville is here describing the method of making 
coiled basketry. If the sewing takes place always on the 
outer edge of the finished part of the coil, the work will 
be flat like a mat. But these textile artistes understood 
narrowing, by sewing always a little above the outer edge 
making the tour a little shorter. The consequence is a 
bowl, a jar, or a pot, just as the maker wills. I have else- 
where described minutely the cleverness with which these 
savage women secure a water-tight vessel, light and 

Mat'-making, hat-plaiting, and all such work as does not 
require a loom, is in the nature of basketry. The Chilkat 
Indians of Alaska weave a ceremonial blanket of cedar 
bark, and wool from the mountain goat. These are covered 
with totemic devices in yellow, black, and white. But 
there is no shuttle employed. The warp threads are set 
up in a frame, and the weft is wrought in by twined work, 
after the manner of a tapestry worker. It is, in fact, the 
T'lingit twined basketry in pliant material. All over the 

* Coville, op cit, , p. 359. 


North American continent cloth and matting were thus 

Hand-weaving, without the aid of loom or frame of any 
kind, was perfected among the Polynesians. Besides the 
beaten or tapa cloth they made robes and sleeping mats, 
with or without fringe or pile from the bark of the hibiscus 
and Phormium tcnax. The bark was peeled from young 
shoots in strips four or five feet long. These were scraped 
with a shell and dried. From these ribands split the mats 
were woven, the work commencing at one corner, and a 
fabric nine feet long and four feet wide being wrought by 
the fingers of the workman alone. These were of a beautiful 
white colour, and were worn only by men.' 

The so-called Panama hats and similar work from Africa, 
though looking like the work of a loom, are produced by 
hand. Either in Mexico or in Africa the natives may be 
seen seated on the ground with the split filaments at their 
sides working away almost unconsciously, and scarcely 
looking at what they are doing. The method of drawing 
the working filaments alternately above and below what 
may be called the warp is ingenious. Each filament is 
doubled near the point of working, and the nimble fingers 
place one warp strand above and one below as the loop is 
drawn along so dexterously that the eye can with difficulty 
follow the operation. 

The true textile art begins, however, with spinning or 
the making of yarn. This involves the separation of the 
fibrous tissue from starchy and other foreign matter, and 
the twisting of the fibre so as to make a strong yarn. Or 
it involves the removal of hair or wool from animals, and 
subjecting them to the same operation. 

In its beneficial results this art is surpassed by none other 
invented by savages. When one considers the millions of 
flying spindles now whirling in all the factories of the 
world, he does not wonder that the Fates or controllers 
of human destiny were worshipped in the form of three 

' Ellis, Polynes. Researches ^ London, vol. i. p. l86. 


very plain women, one making yarn, the second spinning 
it out, the third with the fatal shears. It is easy to believe 
that the first yarn was twisted between the palms of the 
hands or on the thigh by means of the palm. The cobbler, 
in untwisting his thread, keeps alive the latter process. 
But the spindle is a very old device. The simplest form in 
use to-day is a stick or rod of wood. The one who used it 
sat on the ground with legs extended. The yarn was 
fastened by one end to the middle of the stick. The 
spinner held the bunch of fibre in the left hand, and rolled 
the stick along on the thigh quickly with the right hand, 
catching and carrying it back to the groin, where it stopped 
twirling. The spun yarn was wound on the stick as soon 
as it was sufficiently twisted, and this made a sort of fly- 

It was a very easy step in advance to put some weighty 
object upon this stick, inventing thereby the spindle- 
whorl. And if the spinner wished to get up and walk 
around, it would be necessary to have a spindle-stick with 
a hook or notch on the upper end. Stick, whorl, notch — 
that is all there is in spinning. All further inventions were 
for the purpose of doing the work faster and finer. Indeed, 
in Finland the spinning-wheel is nothing more than a large 
spindle laid horizontally, and worked in two upright sticks 
that serve for bearings. 

Every region of the earth has its own string. The Arctic 
peoples prepare thread and twine of sinew, some of them 
as fine as our best cotton, only very much stronger. The 
Japanese make excellent string of the mulberry paper, and 
the Chinese, as well as many peoples south of them, use 
bamboo splints, while the silkworm goddess is the patroness 
of the Far East. All over the Pacific Islands the coir, or 
prepared fibre from the outer husk of the cocoanut, is the 
staple from which string is made, not by twisting, but 
chiefly by braiding. This braided coir serves every con- 
ceivable purpose. Houses, boats, and implements are tied, 
not nailed or rivetted together. Its preparation occupies 


the leisure of men and women, and great rolls of black and 
brown sennit, for that is the native name, may be seen in 
museums. In Mexico and South America the pita fibre 
and cotton furnish the principal staples, but all over 
temperate North America the Apocynum cannabtnum^ or 
Indian hemp, was made into yarn and twine, and woven 
into cloth. The hair of ruminants and of the dog easily 
lent itself to the spindle, and among some tribes skins with 
the fur on were cut into very thin strips, and these were 
twisted and woven into blankets. Bast from trees is fre- 
quently twisted into a kind of single ply twine, and used 
even for bow strings. 

Sinew dressing is a textile art. The long and tough 
bundles of sinew are removed from the legs of the larger 
mammals, very carefully cleaned of any flesh or fat and 
dried. At convenient seasons these bundles are shredded 
just as men and women pick oakum. This shredded sinew 
is used without further preparation for seizing or wrapping 
thousands of things together. For instance, when a savage 
would firmly attach the feathers to an arrowshaft, he takes 
the shaft under his left arm with the nock end in his left 
hand. He then puts a shred of sinew in his mouth, while 
he lays on his feathers carefully. As soon as the sinew 
shred is thoroughly softened, the wrapping is neatly done 
by holding the shred tight with the right hand and 
revolving the shaft with the left. At both ends the shred 
is tucked under and rubbed down so as to render the 
fastening invisible. 

This shredded sinew answers another purpose, namely, 
for strengthening the backs of bows. A quantity of this 
material is well moistened and mixed with animal or fish 
glue, and little by little built up on the back of a wooden 
bow previously prepared. This is so neatly done as to 
resemble the bark of the wood, and must be very carefully 
managed to avoid overstraining the wood backward in 
drying, and to give at the same time the elasticity 
demanded. Some of these bows will do terrible execution. 




The sinew, when very finely shredded and combed out, 
makes an excellent yarn or thread or cord. The eastern 
Eskimo very seldom twist the sinew except for bow strings, 
but the western Eskimo are extremely clever in its manage- 
ment. They have invented a kind of swift which enables 
the spinner to run out a much longer filament than can be 
done by hand. The spindle is seldom used in sinew twist- 
ing. For bowstrings and cord where strength is needed, the 
North American Indian had no substitute for this. 

The shredded cedar and willow bark and some grasses 01 
the Pacific coast of America make excellent twine for nets, 
fishing lines, or domestic use. The hackling is done with a 
very dull bone knife in the shape of a kitchen chopper, and in 
some cases the filaments are quite short. The twining is 
done altogether with the fingers, and very skilfully, after the 
manner of twisting a whip-cracker. The woman holds the 
twined part in her left hand between thumb and forefinger, 
and presses her middle finger against the ball of the thumb 
to hold a strand, while with her right hand she gives the 
other strands a few turns. She deftly turns the strand, 
passes it to the middle finger of the left hand to hold, at the 
same time seizes the other strand, gives that a turn or two, 
twining the two strands each time. It is said that Sicilian 
women make twine for chair bottoms in the same way from 

The basket-makers of Guiana are men, but the spinning 
and weaving, with slight exceptions, are done by women. 
The string is of three kinds of fibre — cotton, tibisiri (Man- 
ritia flexuosa fibre), and crowia {Bromeh'a and Anannassa 
fibre). Cotton is grown and spun by almost all Indians, but 
especially by the Arecunas. The fibre having been picked 
and freed from the seeds is pulled out into a long, uneven 
loose band, and this is wound around the right wrist. One 
end is attached to the end of a common spindle and the 
thread is carefully drawn out and twisted and wound about 
the spindle shaft. In making twine two or three of these 
spindles are used, as in common twine. The gathering of 


tibisiri is a unique process. The young leaf spike furnishes 
the fibre. Each leaf or spike is taken singly, a sharp 
dexterous rub at the top separates the outer skin, and the 
whole is then torn off. It is further prepared by boiling, 
drying in the sun, and twisting into strings by means of the 
palm of the hand and the thigh, after the manner of the 
cobbler. The fibre from a dozen spikes is suflScient to make 
a large hammock. 

The crowia fibre is thus obtained. A noose or slip-knot 
is passed over the end of a leaf tightly, the other end of the 
string being attached to a tree. The Indian then takes the 
point of the leaf in his hand and forces the fibrous portion 
through the noose by a sudden and strong pull. The green 
skin and soft matter are removed by the loop. The fibre is 
then washed and dried in the sun. The crowia is also twisted 
on the thigh by means of the palm of the hand. Mr. im Thurn 
explains the existence of thigh-twisting and spindle-twisting 
in the same area by the statement that the latter is confined 
mostly to Carib tribes, and that the thigh -twisting is probably 
the aboriginal method, and that subsequently the stocks had 
borrowed customs from one another.^ 

These Indians construct their hammocks by netting the 
tibisiri fibre after the manner of an old-fashioned silk purse. 
The square wooden frame on which they are made lies 
on the ground, and the whole is netted of one continuous 
string. The Caribs weave their cotton hammocks in a frame. 
After setting up the warp, they weave at intervals or braid 
bands across with three shuttles, taking up the warp strands 
alternately in the plait. The work on these is done by 
women, from the planting to the finishing off in the loom, 
but the " scale lines are put on by the men." 

The Andamanese cordmaker uses the bark fibres of trees and 
shrubs for material. For harpoon lines and turtle nets he 
resorts to the Melochia velutina^ removes the bark, and with 
a Cyrena shell scrapes the cellular integument until the 
fibre which it encloses is laid bare. These are then placed 

' Cy*. im Thurn, Indians of British Guiana^ London, 1883, pp. 283-290, 



in the sun to dry. When ready for use the ropemaker ties 
several of the filaments to his toe and winds another strand 
round them spirally, adding fresh lengths when needed. 
When about thirty yards have been made, a large portion of 
yarn is wound around the kutegbo, or reel made of two cross 
sticks. The operator then seats himself, stretches his legs 
apart, places a stick or cane between his two big toes, and 
over it passes his reel. His yarn or fibre is placed at his 
right side and drawn behind his neck and over his left 
shoulder as he proceeds. The man converts himself thus 
into a kind of ropewalk. 

The women of this race also make a less durable twine 
for fishing-nets and sleeping mats. And bowstrings ape 
manufactured by twisting fibre on the thigh. Even in net- 
making the finger is used as a mesh stick, though the 
netting-needle of bamboo is in vogue. No sewing, as we 
understand the word, is to be seen. In repairing their dug- 
out canoes they bore holes above and below the crack and 
reeve strips of cane through these, filling the interstices 
with wax of the black honeycomb. 

Dr. Faurot says that among the idle men about the village 
on the island of Kamarane, south of Arabia, may be seen 
some walking about and spinning. The spindle consists of 
a shaft and a whorl on top, the latter pierced near the outer 
border and having an eyelet extending above the centre. 
The spinner holds the thread high up with the left hand, 
and with the right palm sets the spindle whirling by striking 
the palm against the edge of the whorl.' Livingstone 
observed the same implement in Africa, and in the first 
volume of his explorations refers to a figure of Wilkinson's. 
In the Egyptian group women are doing the spinning, one 
twirling as just described, a second is rubbing the shaft 
against her thigh, as a shoemaker does now, and a third is 
using both palms, having suspended the thread from the 
fork of a tree. 

' Dr. L. Faurot, Rev. d^Ethnog,, Paris, 1887, vol. vi. p. 435. Compare 
with Tibetan spindles, Rockhill, Smifhson, Rep., T892. 


{PAoft in U.S. AW. Museum.) 



Livingstone says that the markets or sleeping-places of 
Angola are well supplied with provisions by great numbers 
of women, every one of whom is seen spinning cotton with 
a spindle and distaff. A woman is scarcely seen going to 
the fields, though she may have a pot on her head, a child 
on her back, and the hoe over her shoulder, but she is 
employed in this way.' 

Among the Mendi negroes on the Niger, the men do the 
heavy work and clear the bush, they also weave, sew, and 
make their own clothing. The women till the ground, fetch 
water, go fishing, prepare and cook food. They spin cotton 
thread, dye it, and make mats.-' 

The Polynesian race, as well as the negroid peoples ol 
Oceanica, make a braided cord from the husk of the cocoa- 
nut. In Samoa, the sennit is braided chiefly by the men. 
They sit at their ease in their houses and work away very 
rapidly. At political meetings also, where many hours are 
spent in formal palaver and speechifying, the old men take 
their work with them. 3 

Loom-weaving is a savage invention. In the Mexican 
Codices a mother is pictured giving instruction to her 
daughter in the art of weaving.^ The warp is fastened to 
sticks at either end and the alternate threads are lifted and 
depressed by means of a very simple harness. The Africans 
also had looms, as well as the Polynesians, involving in a 
primitive way the parts and the processes of our more preten- 
tious machines. One of the latter, however, will do the work 
of one hundred savage women, and a well-equipped factory 
would weave more cloth in a day than ten thousand African 

The simplest form of weaving is a plain checker in which 
the same kind of thread is both warp and woof, and both 

* Livingstone, Travels ^ &^c., in South Africa^ New York, 1858, p. 433, 
with drawing copied from Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians, 

* Garrett, Proc, Roy, Geog, Soc, London, 1892, p. 436. 
3 Turner, Samoa^ London, 1884, p. 170. 

^ Bancroft, Native Kacesy New York, vol. ii. p. 484, with authorities. 


are drawn equally tight so as to appear on either side. As 
before mentioned, this is a very common style of basket- 
making, but it is not so easy to manage in a rude loom, 
as we shall see. In many parts of the world, savages set up 
frames, very much like the old-fashioned quilting frames, 
only of very rude sticks laid parallel on the ground or 
fastened to some stable objects just as far apart as the fabric 
is to be long. In a continuous long spiral they wind the 
warp yarn backward and forward around these two sticks 
until the warp is as wide as the blanket or other fabric 
is to be. The threads are thus adjusted at equal distances 
on the sticks above and below. A long rod is then laid 
against the warp, and by means of a continuous yarn this 
harness is made fast to the warp threads farthest from it, the 
back threads, if the loom is standing. This can be done by 
simply winding the yarn round the stick and passing it 
between Che front warp fillets and around the back ones, as 
a hurdle or heald, until every back thread is attached to the 
harness stick. The yarn of the weft is wound on a long 
stick by wrapping it around one end once or twice, carrying 
it to the other end, wrapping it there and so on, backward 
and forward until enough is wound. The weaving consists 
in drawing the harness stick toward the weaver, which pulls 
the back set of warp threads forward between the other or 
front set. The primitive shuttle is then passed between the 
two sets of warps, the end of the yarn having been fastened 
to the outside warp, and enough yarn unwound to go across. 
With the two hands this first weft fillet is drawn taut, any 
inequalities adjusted with a pointed bone or stick, and then 
it is driven home by a wooden sword, lightly if the texture 
is to be plain, with some force if it is to have a corded 
appearance. The sword is then withdrawn, the harness 
stick slackened, the back set of warp threads forced into 
their places by the sword and another weft thread carried 
across. This constitutes the action of the most primitive 
loom. There is no machinery of much importance in 
savagery, so we must not look for flying shuttles of the 


most primitive sort. But the harness does become more 
complicated. However, so long as there are no true heddles 
the weaving must necessarily be of the plainest kind. 
Different colours are easily introduced into this work by 
having sets of bobbins or reels for each colour and drawing 
them through the requisite number of stitches each time. 
The apparatus cannot be set for such performance, but the 
weaver must carry Kbr pattern in her mind and count 
properly at each turn. Stripes are easily made, but geo- 
metric patterns require great skill and close attention. A 
curious harness is found among the North American Pueblos 
and in Finland. It consists of a number of small wooden 
rods, or heddles, made into a rack by lashing their ends 
to two parallel rods, after the manner of a ladder, only the 
rounds are so close together as just to allow the warp thread 
to pass freely from one cross-bar to the other. The small 
rods or heddles are all perforated in the middle to form the 
eyes or **mails.'^ When the warp is set up, threads are 
passed through the " mails " and between the rods. This 
enables the weaver to push, or " shred *' one half of the 
warp threads past the other half quickly. It also allows the 
weaver to " darn " the weft thread through the warp threads 
that are uppermost and create geometric figures and diaper 
effects ad libitum. The Chinese have a large block of wood 
with saw cuts inclined so as to throw the warp up and down 
in weaving the Canton matting. 

In the African grass and palm fibre looms a harness is 
made by a single set of heddles acting precisely as do the 
perforated rods in the Zuni belt- weaving.^ In the manufac- 
ture of the garters worn in their ceremonial dances the 
Pueblo Indians turn their bodies into a very convenient 
stretching frame. The woman sits on the ground with legs 
extended, and holds one of the warp bars with her two great 
toes while the other rests against her stomach, and is made 
fast to a belt passing around her back. By moving her toes 

* Matthews, •• Navajo Weavers," Third An, Rep, Bur, Ethnol.y 
Washington, 1884, pp. 371-391, pi. xxxiv.-xxxviii., figs. 42-59. 


outward and straightening her legs she gets all the tension 
she desires, and can relax it instantly. 

The first attempt at weaving cloth in a long piece, after- 
wards to be cut up, finds its counterpart in the cotton looms 
of Liberia and other portions of West Africa. The warp is 
measured off by driving stakes in. the ground and walking 
around them with the thread as often as there are to be fila- 
ments in the narrow cloth. Sometimes it is necessary to go 
around the house or the whole group of structures. The 
warp is held taut by a large stone, and the narrow strips are 
afterwards sewn together. It is not here affirmed that this 
is altogether a native art, but native processes have survived 
in it sufficiently to make the study instructive. 

A style of weaving controlled largely by the abundance 
of cat-tail and other great rushlike stems remains to be 
described. A number of the stalks laid parallel and very 
close together were joined by sewing at short distances 
a cord of native hemp straight through the whole series. 
The slender wing-bones of birds served as needles, and a 
double crease following the lines of the uniting threads gave 
an ornamental effect to the surface. This style is described 
in Smith's History of Virginia^ and examples of the work 
with all the apparatus were sent to the United States 
National Museum by Mr. Willoughby from Washington 

Plain sewing among the lowest peoples is an affair of the 
skin dresser. They do not, as has been said, make cloth in 
long pieces to be cut up and sewed into garments and other 
useful things. This being the fact, the best tailors ought to 
be sought in the Arctic regions. And this is true as any 
one knows who has examined the garments of caribou skin, 
of seal-skin, of the pelts of the little fur-bearing animals, of 
the intestines of the larger mammals, wrought by the 
Siberians and the Eskimo. 

Parkas or blouses, trowsers or boots, are cut out with 
stone or metal knives. The edges of the parts are whipped 
together with sinews so as to be water-tight. Bits of 

The Textile industry. 249 

different coloured fur are inserted for ornamentation, and, 
frequently, to save every scrap, the sempstress will have 
a hundred pieces of skin in a single garment. Her needle 
is a tough bit of bone working like an awl, and her sinew is 
drawn through with a true needle made of bird bone. Her 
thimble is a bit of tough seal hide drawn over the end of the 
forefinger, though in modern times they imitate in ivory 
the white woman's thimble. Lighter goods, such as the 
intestines of seals and the more delicate skins are run 
together by a basting stitch of wonderful uniformity, and 
bits of feather are caught between the parts of the seam for 
ornament. As far south in America as the country of the 
loom weaver and the bark -cloth beater, sewing women 
abounded. Especially in modern times were they skilful 
and active in the buffalo country, where they constructed 
by hundreds the huge teepees or tents as well as the clothing 
of their tribes. Indeed, the whole work of skin-dressing 
and manufacturing devolved on them. 

Netting among savages is difficult to study because there 
is much dispute as to whether it has been introduced among 
them ; but any one who has examined the knots of Poly- 
nesians, of Eskimo, of the ancient Peruvians, has no diffi- 
culty in believing savage textile artisans capable of making 
any kind of nets. The costly feather cloaks of Hawaii are 
founded upon nets, the quill of the feathers being caught 
systematically into the knot of each mesh. In a collection 
of Eskimo objects will be seen netting needles, shuttles, 
bobbins, spacers for meshes of all sizes and materials, wound 
with twine and babiche, or fine raw-hide string. 

Net-making for salmon in Polynesia was an affair of state. 
" The salmon net is seldom possessed by any but the 
principal chiefs ; it is sometimes forty fathoms long and 
twelve or more feet deep. As is customary on all occasions 
of public work, the proprietor of the net required the other 
chiefs to assist in the preparation. Before he began two 
large pigs were killed and baked. When taken from the 
oven they were cut up and the governor's messenger sent 



with a piece to every chief. If it was accepted, the chiet 
agreed to perform the part assigned him. The cord was 
about a quarter of an inch in diameter, and made with the 
tough bark of the niat^ (Ficus prolixa), which, next to the 
romaha, or flax, is considered more durable than any other 
vegetable substance. The cord was twbted with the hand 
; the knee in two or 
tra ids or threads The 
re about four inches 
ade with a needle 
nl k those employed by 
p a workmen As the 
1 rought n their por 
tl ch ef and his men 
i tl em tf^ether The 
wtre dried pieces ot 
■:, and the bottom was 
ulh smooth stones en- 
veloped in pieces 
of the matted fibre 
of the cocoanut 
husk tied together 
at the ends, and 
attached to the 
lower border of 
the net." ' 

Loopwork is a 
fabric made by the 
tiG 49 —Mohave Burden Basket, w<,R simply interlocking of 

wrapped aboui the warp (breads. Compare i „ ■,. ,,.:„ 

AnJinan patterns. ^ ^ 'o^PS '" * contin- 

uous string, like 
crocheting. Hammocks are often thus constructed. There 
are uo knots as in netting nor double motion as in knitting, 
but the loops are drawn through as in spiral basketry, and 
the row now forming is kept from ravelling by having the 
next row of loops drawn through it. The best and purest 
' Ellis, Palpus, Res., London, 1859, vol. i. p. 141. 


forms of this work are to be seen in the wsllets and open 
net sacks of the African tribes. The same stitch may now 
be seen in Central America, and the query is whether the 
negroes taught the Indians the stitch. When the work is 
done with a bone needle and a rod for a spacer, the end 

KiG. SO.^rima Burden Ifcisket, Arizona, Delaii showing 
Ifcu'inings of lace making, or loopwork. (U. S. Nal. 

may be drawn through the loops and form a link between 
looping and netting. 

Ill addition to the weaving of feathers among their cotton 
fabrics, the ancient Mexicans practised to perfection an art 
which may be called feather- mosaic. Even in our day 
attractive examples of this work may be bought in Mexico, 


but these bear no comparison with those made by the 
ancient. To prepare for the feather-painting, the amanltca^ 
or artist, arranged his feathers in small earthen dishes, 
stretched a piece of cloth on a board before him, and pro- 
vided himself with a pot of glue and a pair of tweezers. 
His design was sketched on the cloth, and then the feathers 
were carefully glued on one at a time with exemplary 

In Hawaii, feather-hunting was a special vocation, and 
much labour and patience were spent in catching the birds. 
Nets and snares were sometimes used, but, more frequently 
birdlime, composed of the gum of the breadfruit or the viscid 
milk of the arboreal lobeliads. Hunters are said to have 
transplanted strange trees to the midst of the forest to excite 
the birds' curiosity. To obtain a pair of tail feathers of 
the Koae {Phaeton rubrtcauda)^ the hunters climbed the 
steep palis where the birds nested and plucked the long 

Embroidery was also a savage art long before the coming 
of the whites. The surfaces of textiles were covered with 
beads of shell, with finely stripped and dyed quills of birds 
and porcupines, with hair of moose and other mammals, not 
rejecting that from human heads. A little above the lowest 
savagery, as soon as people became weavers, by omitting 
weft threads, by splitting warp fillets and changing the parts 
included in rows of twined weaving, by a figure of eight 
weaving alternating with skipping of warp threads, by what 
is technically called *' drawn work,'' and other devices, they 
established styles of embroidery that are imitated by the 
most cultured. 

Superconscructive features, so important in the decoration 
of fabrics are the result of devices by which a construction 
already capable of fulfilling the duties imposed by function 
has added to it parts intended to enhance beauty, and which 

' Bancroft, Native Races^ referring to many authors, chap. ii. p. 488, seq. 
Also Mrs. Zelia Nuttall, in Peabody Museum Papers. 
^ Brigham, Cat. Bishop Museum^ Honolulu, 1892, p. 10. 


may or may not be of advantage to the fabric' They 
constitute one of the most widely used and effective resources 
of the textile decorator, and are added by sewing or stitching^ 
inserting^ drawings cutting^ applying^ appending^ &c. 
These methods of over-laying and added decoration are 
seen in their perfection among the northern skin-workers. 
The weaving people of Peru and Mexico had come to this 
stage of their art, but plain weavers had not. But the 
clever little Eskimo woman could herring-bone with 
shredded quill, let in a gore cut from the ankle of the 
caribou, and cut out parts or " pink " the edges of a 
garment according to her mind. 

In all primitive weaving definite reticulated patterns are 
produced by variations in the spacings and other relations of 
the warp and woof. The production of reticulated work is 
the especial function of netting, knitting, crocheting, and 
certain varieties of needlework, and a great diversity of 
relieved results are produced, no figure being too complex, 
and no form too pronounced to be undertaken by ambitious 

The decoration of basketry and textiles is, after all, a kind 
of chess playing. Each stitch is restricted to a definite area, 
and if the maker has been skilful, the area may be indefi- 
nitely small. The decoration of basketry is the develop- 
ment of geometry, producing straight lines on wallets and 
curved lines on true baskets and jars. These lead on to the 
creation of triangles and rectangles and polygons of every 
sort, to herring-bone, chevrons, and frets or meanders, in 
short, to everything that can be made out of dots and small 
figures and lines. Basket-making also introduces and keeps 
before the mind the elements of arithmetic. It would be 
very difficult to find another savage occupation which 
exacted so extended a count and such a ready use of figures. 
The basket-maker must hold in her memory and count in 
a twinkle any number of stitches, certainly up to twenty. 

^ Holmes, Sixth An, Rep, Bur, EthnoLy pp. 211-232. With many 
illustrations. ' Ibid,^ p. 210. 


The Zuni belt-weaver, introducing the same design over 
and over after an interval of ten or a dozen passes of her 
shuttle is a tolerably fair mistress of rapid counting. 

This primitive counting and geometry laid the foundation 
for decorations innumerable on other material. The potter 
has never ceased to copy them though the transfer has been 
accomplished with the greatest difficulty, and has led to 
modifications made possible by the softness of the material. 

On the other hand, the ambitious basket- weaver, working 
in extremely fine stitches, and instinctively guessing that a 
curved figure is only a polygon with infinite number of 
sides, soars away from right-lined geometry, and attempts 
animal forms. These animal forms, curtailed and abbre- 
viated^ become at first a quaint pictography, which is lost 
by and by in other geometric forms of a higher order. 
These are borrowed and multiplied from land to land, and 
form the stock-in-trade of the diesigners. 

It is of the utmost importance that the stitch in basketry 
and the mesh in weaving be correctly understood in their 
relation to art in textile and also in pottery, which, as was 
seen in Chapter V., is a child of basketry. The one thing 
sought after by the skilful weaver in savagery is uniformity 
of dimensions in the stitch. The most cultivated persons 
have marvelled in looking at a Yuki Indian's or a Congo 
negro's textile work to see the uniformity of the plaiting 
or the weaving. Children and young women struggle and 
struggle on until they acquire the knack, and become old 
in the pursuit until they attain it. This once learned with 
any degree of nicety, the young artist is ready for the 
second lesson, that is, to give variety to the surface by 
means of shading or by colour. The Panamint Ute woman 
working with splints of rhus or willow, and with the split 
pods of Martynia, which are jet black, has now the means 
of branching out into form. But do not forget that the 
exigencies of her material and of her method preclude the 
possibility of her ever achieving aught but geometric figures. 
It is one, two, three in black, and then as many more in 


white, and the thing is done. The next time she comes 
around, the blacks and whites will face opposite colours in 
the preceding row. That is all there is in it to begin with. 

The colouring of textiles, both basketry and weaving, is 
an ancient art. In the first place. Nature assisted the 
weaver by supplying brown, black, red, green, yellow fila- 
ments in a multitude of shades. The rest is art or inven- 
tion. Some vegetable substances assume new colours when 
buried in marshy places. Others are changed in contact 
with mineral or vegetal or animal substances. The Cali- 
fornia Indians immerse splints in muddy places, and secure 
a permanent chocolate brown ; but everybody knows that 
vegetal dyes need the addition of a mordant to make the 
colouring matter adhere. This part of the art of colouring, 
however, was worked out in savagery. 

The Navajo Indians make their native dyes as follows : 

Black, — Rhus aromatica^ yellow ochre, gum of the 
pinon {Pinus eduh's). The sumac leaves and stems are 
boiled five or six hours. The ochre is . finely powdered, and 
roasted to a light brown colour. It is then mixed with 
an equal quantity of piiion gum, set on the fire, and stirred 
until the mass is reduced to a fine black powder. When it 
has cooled somewhat it is thrown into the decoction of 
sumac, when it instantly forms a blue-black fluid, the 
tannic acid of the sumac combining with the sesquioxide 
of iron in the roasted ochre, the whole enriched by the 
carbon of the calcined gum. 

Yellow, — The flowering tops of Bigelovia gravcolens are 
boiled until a decoction of deep yellow is produced. Some 
almogen (an impure native alum) is heated over the fire 
and added to the decoction, and the wool is put into the 
mixture to boil. This produces a tint nearly a lemon 

A second process consists in crushing the fresh root of a 
plant, as yet undetermined, upon a metate, and in using 
the almogen as a mordant. The cold paste is rubbed 
between the hands into the wool. 


Red. — A reddish dye is made of the bark of Alnus 
incana^ var. virescens (Watson), and the bark of the root 
of Cercocarpus panifolius^ the mordant being fine juniper 

The Lacandons of Guatemala used as dyes, indigo for 
blue, cochineal for red, and indigo mixed with lemon-juice 
for black. The Nicaraguans obtained a highly prized 
purple by pressing the valve of a shell-fish found on the 
seashore. They take the material to the seaside, and, after 
obtaining a quantity of fresh colouring matter, dip each 
thread singly into it, and lay it aside to dry. From the 
aloe and pita they obtain a very fine thread. Reeds and 
bark give material for coarser stuff, such as ropes and nets.^ 

The ancient Mexicans, in preparing dyes and paints, used 
mineral, vegetal, and animal substances. Of plants, they 
used the wood, the bark, the leaves, the flowers, the fruits, 
and many of their dyes have, since the conquest, been intro- 
duced throughout the world. Chief among these was the 
cochineal, nochiztli. The flower of the matlalxihuitl 
supplied blue shades ; indigo was the sediment of water 
in which branches of the xiuhquilipitzahuac had been 
soaked ; seeds of the achiotl boiled in water yielded the 
red, the French roucou ; ochre, or tecozahuitl^ furnished 
yellow, as did also the plant xochipalli^ the latter being 
changed to orange by the use of nitre ; other shades were 
produced by the use of alum ; the stones chimaltzatl and 
tizatlalli being calcined, produced something like Spanish 
white ; black was obtained from a stinking mineral, tlaliac^ 
or from the soot of a pine ocotL In mixing paints they 
used chian-oil, or sometimes the glutinous juice of the 
tzanhtii. The numerous dye woods of the tterra caliente^ 
now the chief export from that region, were all employed 
by the native dyers.3 

The oldest books speak of cloth and nets and embroideries 

^ Matthews, Third An, Rep. Bur. Ethuol.y p. 376. 

« Bancroft, Native Races, New York, 1874, vol. i. p. 699. 

3 Ibia\, vol. ii. p. 487. 


and dye stuffs. Indeed, there are some types of hand-work 
in the textile art that no machinery can be made to imitate. 
This body of industries, Hke others of which we have been 
speaking, seems to have been invented and developed long 
ago, and when the curtain rises on the drama of written 
history, the spindle, the distaff, the loom, the needle are 
there on the stage in place. This chapter relates especially 
to woman^s work throughout. It ought not to depreciate 
the inventors of the textile art in the eyes of cultivated 
women when they learn that the delicate stitches and 
patterns which they employ were invented so long ago by 
their own sex.^ 

' Havelock Ellis, Man and Woman ^ London, 1894, Waller Scott \ 
O. T. Mason, WomanU SJiare in Primitive Culture, London, 1894, 





" Listen to the words of warning 
From the lips of the Great Spirit ! 
I have given you lands to hunt in ; 
I have given you streams to fish in ; 
I have given you bear and bison ; 
I have given you roe and reindeer ; 
I have given you brant and l^eaver ; 
Filled the marshes full of wild fowl, 
Filled the rivers full of fishes." 

Longfellow, Hiawatha, i. 

In his contact with the animal kingdom, the primitive 
man developed both militancy and industrialism. He 
occupies two attitudes in the view of the student, that of 
a slayer, and that of a captor and tamer. Omitting now 
the inquiry whether the very first men were carnivorous or 
vegetarian, we may apply our thoughts to the general 
subject of man in his relation to the animal world. It is 
important to ask how our species came to be masters of 
the brute kingdom, and what intellectual advantages were 
gained in the struggle. 

The first of our species were poorly provided with 
apparatus for contending with their fellow-creatures, or 
even for defending themselves therefrom. The lower forms 
of terrestrial and marine life were accessible to them, and 
the young of many higher mammals ; but the conflict must 
have been slowly and feebly waged at first. 

The creatures- potentially useful to early man in ways 




innumerable, belonged to every family of the zoological 
kingdom. There was no want of his that could arise which 
there was not some being to serve. 

The account of the ways along which this animal world 
has gradually succumbed to our species would involve the 
whole history of civilisation. All this conflict and enter- 
prise was in front of the first men. No other animal 
started ever on such a mission. And yet men could not 
fly, like the rapacious birds ; nor burrow, like the bear, the 
fox, or the mole ; nor swim, like the fish. They had no 
hairy covering, their teeth and nails were the weakest ; 
most animals were more fleet than they. The bear, the 
lion, the tiger, the wolf, the serpent, the gorilla, could 
easily overpower them.^ 

Their problem was to invent missiles that could fly faster 
than the objects of their pursuit ; to create apparatus for 
digging and burrowing, and for compelling underground 
animals to quit their dens ; to pursue the aquatic creatures 
in their own element ; to lay tribute on all hairy and 
fur-bearing species ; to devise engines that would strike 
harder than the paw of the lion, pierce deeper than the 
tiger's fang, wind their victims in more deadly folds than 
the embrace of the serpent, and burn more effectually than 
the stings of all venomous beings combined. 

Just as the modern inventor is ever seeking for sharper 
eyes in his optical instruments, more delicate muscular 
sense in his refined metric apparatus, the genius of the first 
men was engaged in adding speed to their feet, momentum 
to their fists, the strength of withes and ropes and thongs 
to their grip. 

By and by they turned the artillery of Nature on her- 
self. The dog raised a flag of truce and came in to join the 
hosts of man against the rest. The mountain sheep and 
the wild goat descended from their rocky fortresses, gave up 
the contest, and surrendered skins and fleece and flesh and 
milk to clothe and feed the inventor of the fatal arrow. 

' Cf. J. Hampton Porter, Wild Beasts ^ New York, 1894, Scribner. 


Tired of deadly weapons and decoys and snares and pit- 
falls set by the most cunning of enemies too long ago for 
any historian, the llama, the camel, the horse, the ass, the 
elephant, the cow entered into a solemn and everlasting 
treaty to lend their agile feet, their patient backs and necks 
and shoulders, their milk, their flesh, their hides, their hair, 
their very bones, to minister to men's wants. How well 
this treaty has been observed on both sides let all domestic 
creatures bear witness. 

Those that refused to enter in any way into these stipula- 
tions are doomed sooner or later to extinction, and many 
species have already disappeared or withdrawn to the waste 
places of the earth in despair. 

Savagery, barbarism, civilisation, the three general periods 
into which sociologists divide the evolution of culture, may 
well be marked off in the progress of men in relation to 
animals. It is possible to follow any one animal up through 
the three periods, or to mark the increasing number ox 
genera and species that have been thought necessary to 
human happiness at each stage of its upward career, or, 
finally, to note how many parts of the animal frame may be 
brought into the industrial currents, and the multitudinous 
functions which a single part of the animal may come to 

From the lowest savagery to the highest civilisation ot 
men and animals, the progress of both from nature to 
artificialism, in culture and domestication and breeding, is 
now studied seriously as one of the most promising divisions 
of anthi;opology. It will be seen that both the quality and 
the rapidity of refinement have always been conditioned by 
the animals in the foreground. 

It is a false notion that savage or primitive men knew 
little or nothing of zoology. Inasmuch as their brains were 
nearly equal to ours, as their pulses beat as fast and their 
senses were normal, as they passed their daily lives in pur- 
suing or escaping from the animals, their knowledge con- 
cerning them was extensive. The author has lately gone 


carefully over the list of the higher animals known to North 
American savages, and the result is astonishing. The 
Indians were not naturalists in the modern sense, but they 
had uses for all the species they knew.' 

To have a proper conception of the time when the 
contest began between men and beasts, it is necessary to 
imagine a state of things when there were no sportsmen 
nor professional hunters, no peltry and plumage collectors, 
no lighthouses nor locomotive headlights nor telegraph 
wires, no great field and forest fires, no smoky and noisy 
cities. The natural food and places of refuge for the 
animal creation were disturbed only in the smallest degree 
by man, who simply helped himself in an unobtrusive 

In addition to its destructiveness, the gun wrought incal- 
culable changes in the psychology of the animal kingdom. 
Sir John Lubbock quotes Mr. Galton on the subject of con- 
scious danger among animals in a savage state as a type of 
the anxious life which savage man lived. If ** every antelope 
in South Africa has literally to run for its life once in every 
day or two, and starts under the influence of a false alarm 
many times a day " 3 simply through fear of its natural 
enemy, one may imagine, at least, the quadrupling of this 
dread which adds the terror of the ear to those of the eye. 

In this very connection, continuing the study of the 
seeming impassable gulf between the wolf and the faithful 
dog, one may wonder whether wolves themselves were as 
savage once as they are now, and whether on the destruction 
of their abundant natural supply their suspicions have not 
increased their ferocity. Lately this subject has been 
reviewed by a writer in the Popular Science Monthly ^^ and 
taken up in Science by Theodore B. Comstock.s 

» Report U, S. Nat, Museum, 1888-89, P» 555- 
^ Consult Gibbs, Science, New York, Sept. 30, 1892, p. 183. 
3 Galton, Trans, Ethnol, Soc, vol. iii. p. 133, quoted in Lubbcck, Preh, 
Times, New York, 1872, p. 595. 
* Notes, Sept., 1892, p. 719, New York, 
s Science, New York, Sept. 16, 1892, p. 155. 


Mr. Hudson, in his Naturalist in La Plata^ says that 
''the puma never attacks men except in self-defence. In 
the pampas, it is said, a child may sleep on the plain unpro- 
tected in equal security." Mr. Comstock says " the puma, 
or American panther, and the jaguar, its South American 
representative, are not regarded by experienced hunters as 
animals to be feared, excepting under circumstances which 
leave no avenue of escape open to the beast.'* He also says 
that venomous reptiles and insects — such as the rattlesnake, 
tarantulas, scorpions, centipedes — have reputations beyond 
their desert for bloodthirstiness. The boa-constrictor, the 
alligator, bears, skunks, and other dreadful creatures all 
come in for a good word. 

In addition to ferocity awakened by being cornered, there 
is no doubt that the pairing season works the sarne change 
in animals. In America those who have tamed carnivorous 
and ruminant pets know what watchfulness has to be exer- 
cised over their pupils at such times. The female in charge 
of her young also learns that man may be a coward, and 
gathers reassurance from her own fright. The point I am 
making is that the psychological endowments of wild 
creatures were profoundly modified by man even before he 
began to domesticate them. Killing them, taking away 
their natural supply, corralling them on reservation increased 
their savagery. The gun, more than all other causes com- 
bined, puts birds to flight, causes the mammalia to hide 
away in terror, and even reptiles and fishes and insects have 
taken on new and artificial behaviour. Finally, the better 
qualities of animal nature are reassured in civilisation or 
zootechny, and the artificially cruel manners of beast and 
bird, first intensified by man, become afterwards dormant, 
and are bred out of them in succeeding generations. 

The popular superstition concerning the venomous nature 
of many insects may be recalled. **In Arizona," says Com- 
stock, "the bite of a certain small species of skunk is very 
much dreaded, owing to the belief that hydrophobia is a 
probable result.'' The writer can recall when he was a 


child the constant dread of his life in which he lived from 
all sorts of creatures, several species of snake among them, 
which his brother used to carry about and handle with 
impunity. Dragon-flies, the cicada, the common lizard of 
Virginia, the garter snake — all were really as harmless as a 
fly. Overcome by these superstitions and tales, young and 
old pursued these creatures remorselessly, until hunger, 
surprise, fear, danger, and all the category of ills made them 

On the contrary, the prejudice against taking life of any 
kind and for any purpose has been the cause of many thou- 
sands of people dying from snake-bites in India and other 
Buddhistic countries. Indeed, the prejudice against taking life 
of any kind has curiously modified the industrial aspect of 
all regions where Buddhism has once had full sway. 

The great migrations of men by which they have finally 
distributed themselves over the earth as we see them have 
been governed largely by the distribution of animals. If 
any one will consult the Fish Commissioner's map of the 
United States for the places where food fishes most resort 
for spawning, he will at the same time be on the track of 
the most prolific old Indian camp sites. Men have migrated 
at the beck and call of animals ; they have also been driven 
from vast regions of the earth by pestiferous insects. 

This most intimate association of man with animated 
nature is well exemplified in a remark of Boas concerning 
the movements of the Eskimo in Baffin land. " All depends 
on the distribution of food at the different seasons. The 
migrations or the accessibility of the game compel the 
natives to move their habitations from time to time, and 
hence the distribution of the villages depends to a great 
extent upon that of the animals which supply them with 
food. In Arctic America the abundance of seals found in 
all parts of the sea enables man to withstand the inclemency 
of the climate and the sterility of the soil. The skins of 
seals furnish the material for summer garments and for the 
tent ; their flesh is almost the only food, and their blubber 


the indispensable fuel during the long, dark winter. Scarcely 
less important is the deer, of whose heavy skin the winter 
garments are made, and these enable the Eskimo to brave 
its storms and cold." ^ 

To overcome the animals whose bodies they desired, 
primitive men set out to kill them by brute force. For 
this purpose they first invented weapons for despatching 
or seizing their prey ; after that they gave their thoughts 
to devices by means of which the animal would be its own 
destroyer or captor. 

The apparatus employed in this pursuit may be classified 
in accordance with the manner of using it, or in accordance 
with the result upon the victim. The latter is preferable in 
this connection as the chief concept, the former being used 
in subdivision. In this case the following arrangement 
results : — 


1. Implements for striking. 

2. Implements for cutting. 

3. Implements for piercing. 

4. Implements for seizure. 

5. Entangling apparatus. 

6. Baited apparatus. 

7. Co-operative hunting and accessories. 

As to their operation, each device may be either held in 
the hand, thrown from the hand, or left to do its own work. 
These classes are arranged somewhat in an evolutionary 
series, the last of the series indicating the greatest ingenuity 
and the procurement of the largest result with least effort. 

In a bulletin published by the Director of the United 
States National Museum, Dr. G. Brown Goode, to illustrate 
the animal resources and fisheries of the United States, a 
list of the animals beneficial and injurious to man is given. 
The wonderful part of this enumeration is that nearly al! 

' Boas, ** Central Eskimo," Sixth An, Rep, Bur, Etknol.y p. 419. 


the Species there enumerated were known by name to the 
aborigines, wlio had invented some ingenious way to capture 
or slay them. There is also in the same publication, pre- 
pared by a corps of able assistants, a classified catalogue of 
the apparatus employed in the destruction of these animals." 

The beginning of this series of inventions is a club. Mr, 
Swan says that every fisherman in Alaska carries a club, 
and, on hauling a fish to the surface, 
knocks it on the head to prevent it from 
jumping about in the canoe,' 

But the old-time fishermen, before there 
were any canoes, knocked both beasts and 
fishes on the head and broke their bones 
with sticks. From that rude starting-point 
the hunting club, for striking and for 
throwing, was differentiated. In the 
chapter devoted to warlike apparatus, it 
becomes a whole class of important imple- 
ments for bruising flesh and breaking 
bones of men. 

Hand implements for cutting include 
hunters' knives and fishermen's knives. 
The history' of the hunter's knife, as dis- 
tinguished from the dagger, commences 
with the flint flake. The leaf-shaped blade, 
when hafted at the point or butt, may be 
either a stabbing or a skinning knife. The p,„ „_ii FJi„t 
most primitive hafting of this sort is a Knife mounted in 
long strip of fur wrapped carefully around ^o^^" ^'^^'^^.'"^ 
one end.3 Other examples occur, in which a longer handle it 
one point is driven into the end of a piece ^ould be u spear, 
of wood or antler and further secured by M/'/Afusmm.)' ' 
gum. And in still other examples a " saw 
cut " is made in the end of a handle, the truncated blade 
let in and secured by lashing or glue. 

■ Goode, Bnlleiin 14, U. S. Nat. Afmetim, Washington, 1879, 
' Bulletin U. S. Nal. Mustu/u, 27, p. 833. 3 See p. 35. 

z66 ^ 

If the leaf-shaped blade be let into a handle laterally, it 
gives the universal and indispensable scaling, scraping, cut- 
ting knife used by women, especially about both game and 
fish, and called by the Eskimo, "ulu." As soon as trade 
brought savage men in contact with civihsation, iron blades 
took the place of those made of stone. These knives must 
have been universally used, because they have come down 
to us in the kitchen mincmg knife and the saddler's round 

. Implements for piercing game ma\ be divided, according 
to the length of the handle, or grip, mto hunting knives 

■ 52.- 

and spears.. Despatched from the hand, they are classed as 
javelins and arrows. In some examples the idea of retriev- 
ing is superadded, but these will be considered separately. 
In its simplest form the piercing implement is a staff 
hardened in the fire and ground sharp, or, simpler still, 
a bit of hard wood ground sharp. 

Many African tribes affix the horn of the antelope to a 
pole, and the American savages had no end of chipped 
blades, with sizes varying for the deer, bear, buffalo, and 
whales. Their bayonets were also tipped with ivory, antler, 
and bone. The simple lance has no retrieving function. 
Its purpose is to penetrate the soft, vital organs of the game 


at such distance as to place the hunter beyond the reach of 
teeth and horns and murderous claws. It lengthened the 

A moment's reflection will show that all savages had a 
practical knowledge of anatomy. They knew where to 
strike with the club to paralyse the brain, to slash with 
the cutlass for the shallow arteries, to pierce with the spear 
to reach the fountain of life. 

Among the Central Eskimo and Athapascans, the method 
of hunting the deer is to attack it in the ponds when 
swimming from one side to the other. In many places 
the natives lie in ambush with their kayaks at the narrow 
parts of lakes, where the animals are in the habit of swim- 
ming across. In other nlaces thev are driven into the water 
by the Eskimo, and attacked by the drivers or by hunters 
stationed on the lake. Favourite places for such a chase 
are narrow peninsulas. The Eskimo deploy into a skirmish 
line, and slowly drive the herd to the point of the peninsula, 
whence the deer, the retreat being cut off, take to the water. 

If the shore be too straight to permit this method of 
hunting, they drive the deer to a hill stretching to the lake. 
A line of cairns is erected on the top, intended to deceive 
the deer. They take to the water as they see no retreat. 
If there are no hills, a line of cairns is erected on some part 
of the plain. 

As soon as the deer are in the water, the natives pursue 
them in kayaks and kill them with the spear. Sometimes 
the wounded deer will -turn upon the boat, in which case 
the hunter must escape with the utmost speed, else he will 
be capsized, or the skin of the boat will be torn to pieces by 
the animal's antlers. 

In some of the narrow valleys with steep faces on both 
sides, the deer are driven towards the hunters, who lie in 
ambush.^ If the deer cannot be driven into the water, the 
Eskimo either stalk them or shoot them from a stand. In 
a plain where the hunter cannot hide himself, it is easier 

* Boas, Sixth An, Rep, Bur. Ethnol., 1888, p. 501. 


to approach the herd if two men hunt together. They 
advance, the second man hiding behind the first one by 
stooping a little. The bows or guns are carried on the 
shoulder, so as to resemble the antlers of a deer. The men 
imitate their grunting and approach slowly, now stopping 
and stooping, now advancing. If the deer look about sus- 
piciously, they sit down, the second man lying almost flat 
on the ground, and both at some distance off" greatly re- 
semble the animals themselves.' 

" The common deer are far more dangerous to approach 
in canoes, as they kick up their hind legs with such violence 
as to endanger any birch-rind canoe that comes within their 
reach ; for which reason all the Indians who kill deer upon 
the water are provided with a long stick that will reach far 
beyond the head of the canoe." ^ 

This assertion of Kearneys is in a line with the previous 
remarks that the ingenious savage knew just how long he 
should make his arm to give the deadly thrust and keep 
•himself out of harm's way. Practically in these expeditions 
one man manages the canoe, while the other, standing in 
front, handles the lance. 

"When the Central Eskimo hunt the musk-ox," says 
Boas, "the dogs are let loose as soon as a track is found. 
The musk-oxen form a circle of defence, in which they are 
kept at bay until the hunter approaches. While the dogs 
continue attacking and dodging, the musk-oxen try to hit 
them with their horns, and do not heed the Eskimo, who 
assail them at close quarters with a lance to which a thong 
is frequently attached. When an ox is wounded it makes 
an impetuous attack on the hunter, who dodges to one side. 
The dogs being at hand again immediately keep it at bay, 
thus enabling the hunter to let fly another arrow or throw 
his lance again. Thus the struggle continues until the 

' Boas, Sixth An, Rep, Bur, EthnoUy 1888, p. 508 ; quoting also Ross, 
Second Voyage^ London, 1835, Webster, p. 252; and Parry, Secofid Voyage, 
p. 512. 

^ Heaxnei Journey, &'€., London, 179S, Strahan, p. 257. 


greater part of the herd is killed. In rare instances an ox 
dashes out of the circle and escapes from the pack." ' 

It is worth while to notice here the dog coming in as a 
helper of mankind in running down and killing his own 
fellow-creatures. The cheetah^ or hunting leopard {Felts 
iuhaid)^ of the Deccan, will also occur to readers in this 
connection. Hunter says, "The speed with which it 
bounds from the cart after the antelope exceeds the swiftness 
of any other wild animal." ^ 

The Central Eskimo pursue the polar bear in light sledges, 
and when they are near the game the traces of the most 
reliable dogs in the team are cut, when they dash forward 
and bring the bear to bay. As the hunter gets sufficiently 
near, the last dogs are let loose, and the bear is killed with 
a spear or with bow and arrow. The best season for hunt- 
ing bear is in March and April, when they come up to the 
fjords in pursuit of young seals.3 

For killing elephants the Batonga tribes, on the Zambesi, 
erect stages on high trees overhanging the paths by which 
the elephants come, and then use a large spear with a 
handle nearly as thick as a man's wrist and five feet long. 
When the animal comes beneath they throw the spear, and 
if it enters between the ribs above, the motion of the handle, 
aided by knocking against the trees, makes frightful gashes 
within, and soon causes death. They kill them also with 
the dreadful spear inserted in a block of wood suspended 
above, and released by a cord stretched across the path. 

To the simple lance the ingenious savage added many 
devices. Chief among them was the hand-rest or stop on 
the side of the shaft, to prevent the cold or gloved hand 
slipping on the shaft when the plunge is made. 

* Boas, Sixth An, Rep. Bur, Ethnol., 1888, p. 509. 

* Imp. Gazetteer of India ^ London, 1886, Triibner, vol. vi. p. 653. 

3 Boas, Sixth An. Rep. Bur, Ethnol.y 1888, p. 509. For the ingenious 
apparatus of the Central Eskimo in hunting deer, musk-ox, and bears, see 
Boas, Sixth An. Rep. Bur, JEthnoJ,, 1888, pp. 508-10, figs. 438-51. 
Piercing weapons of the Pt. Barrow Eskimo are exhaustively treated by 
Murdoch, Ninth An, Rep, Bur, Ethnol.^ 1892, pp. 240-44, figs. 238-45. 


An elaborate device is to be seen on many Eskimo whale 
lances as well as on the harpoons, which astonishes every 
one who sees it for the first time. The iron blade of the 
lance is inserted in an ivory tang or blade-piece, which is 
rounded at the inner end to fit into a shallow socket in the 
ivory socket-piece at the end of the shaft. When the tang 
is in place a raw-hide line is passed through both tang and 
shaft once or twice, so that when dry it holds the head 
straight out. But when the weapon is driven home into a 
large sea mammal, and much thrashing about in the water 
precedes death, the tang is slipped out of its shallow socket 
and the breaking of the shaft prevented. In later times, 
the boar spear, the lance, and even the bayonet are the 
descendants of these primitive devices for thrusting through 
the game. But every one of them is simplicity itself com- 
pared with the intricate apparatus devised by the Arctic 

Each one of the classes of weapons before-mentioned may 
become missiles. The Moki Indians have a rabbit stick, 
which they throw at the legs of game running from them. 
The Australian has his boomerang and club, and the African 
his knobbed stick. 

Some of these have edges for cutting, but the African 
throwing-axes, under various names, are marvels of casting 
and slashing weapons. The Plains Indian and the trapper 
hurl their hunting-knives and tomahawks with great 

Among ancient missiles for destroying animals none can 
compare with the arrow. The bow and the arrow have 
been the pride of the warrior also, and the inventions of 
the bowyer and the fletcher might better be described in 
the Chapter on War. 

The bow is the same in both activities, excepting that the 
Eskimo, who are most ingenious bowyers, never go to war. 
But the arrow on American soil has been more highly 
developed in the arts of hunting and fishing. The possible 
parts of a most complex arrow are shaft, fore-shaft, barb-piece, 


head, feather, and iiock. 
In addition to these parts 
occur the seizing, blood- 
streaks, shaft men t-streaks, 
and owner-marks. The 
simplest arroiv is a mere 
rod or scion of wood, with 
blunt head for knocking 
down birds. Each tribe 
of savages, and each kind 
of hunting and fishing, 
and each region has its 
peculiar arrow. The most 
complicated form in 
America was the sea-otter 
arrow of the Alaskan 
Indians, which might be 
thus described ; shaft of 
cedar, thirty inches long 
and three-eighths of an 
inch thick ; fore-shaft of 
bone, six inches long ; 
feathers three, daintily 
laid on and trimmed ; 
'' cock - feather," white ; 
nock large, bulbous, and 
deeply notched ; head, a 
dainty little barb of bone 
or native copper, fitting 
loosely into the outer end 
of the fore-shaft, pierced 
on ■ the shank for the 
fastening of a braided 
martingale of sinew-cord ; 
martingale tied into the 
head at one extremity and 
at the other divided for 


three feet into two parts, the end of one part tied to the 
shaft near the fore-shaft, the other end made fast near the 
feather. When this arrow is shot at the otter, the little 
barb is driven quite under its skin and is pulled from the 
fore-shaft. The sinew martingale unwinds, the bone fore- 
shaft sinks in the water, the tell-tale feathers bob about in 
the air, the shaft acts both as drag and buoy, aiding the 
hunter to follow and retrieve his game.' 

" The bows of the Deer Horn (Athapascan) are formed of 
three pieces of fir, the centre piece alone bent, the other 
two pieces lying in the same straight line with the bow- 
string ; the pieces are tied together with sinew.*' * 

This compound bow is even in our day framed on the same 
principle, though in some examples the elasticity is in the 
limbs and not in the central piece. The horn of the caribou 
is often used, and even whalebone in place of the fir-wood. 
The limbs are securely lashed to the central piece by means 
of sinew-cord, and the whole weapon is always clumsy. 

Among the Plains Indians bows were made from the 
wood of the Osage Orange {Bots d^arc)^ and long journeys 
were often taken to obtain it. Only the best stocks were 
selected, straight, and as free from knots as possible. The 
seasoning process was slow and thorough, a little scraping 
and cutting and shaping, then a rubbing with fat, and 
it was laid aside for weeks. Each warrior had several in 
different stages of completion. 

The bow-strings were made of sinew, cut out in full 
length, shredded as fine as possible and then spun and 
twisted into a string, perfectly round, and uniform in size. 3 

*' The making of an arrow," says Dodge, "requires more 
labour than that of a bow. The Plains Indians used any 
hard, tough, straight-grain wood. It was scraped down to 
the proper size and shape. Under the most favourable 

' See the author's minute description of North American bows, arrows, 
and quivers. Smithson. Rep.y 1893, many figures. 
" Franklin, Narrative y &'c,, London, 1824, vol. ii. p. 180. 
3 Dodge, TAe Plains of the Great West, New York, 1887, p. 348* 


circumstances the most skilful Indian could not hope to 
complete more than a single arrow in a hard day's work. 
In a short fight or an exciting dash after game, he will 
expend as many arrows as will keep him busy for a month 
to replace." ' 

Something in the nature of a land harpoon, arrow, or 
retrieving apparatus for burrowing creatures is found in 
both hemispheres. The Indians of Arizona and Southern 
California make barbs on the side of the arrow-shaft near 
the head, so that when a prairie dog is shot and runs into 
his hole he may be retrieved. The Utes make a hook 
which they thrust into the hole to fish out small mammals, 
and the Australians do the same. Though made to capture 
fruit and not animals, the Andamanese hook on a pole 
fifteen feet long, to pull down jack-fruit, is in the same line 
of invention. It lengthens man's arm, and enables him to 
retrieve things out of his reach. 

Colonel Dodge declares that the Plains Indians had not 
the slightest knowledge of trapping. They seem to be the 
only aboriginal people in the world who have not some pit- 
fall, spring, or native trap. They had no knowledge of 
angling. The Indian had no " necessity," and his invention 
was therefore never born. I attribute this lack to the 
plentiful supply of large game. 

The same author describes graphically the pursuit, of this 
large game. " With his head covered by a cap of grass or 
weeds, the Indian will lie for hours on his belly, noiseless as 
a snake, watching the game ; now perfectly motionless, now 
crawling a few feet ; no constraint of position, no fiercest 
heat of the sun, seeming to affect him in the least. He will 
lie for a whole day at a water-hole, waiting for the game to 
come to drink, in such position that the wind will not 
reveal him. 

The Plains Indian hunts but little in winter. Every year 
" the great fall hunt " is made for the purpose of killing and 
curing the supply of meat for winter's use. Great prepara- 

' Dodge, Plains of the Great IVest, New York, 1887, p. 349. 



tions are made in advance. Runners are sent out to seek 
the most eligible position for the camp. It must be near 
water, there must be timber for tent-poles and drying scaf- 
folds, and level sward for the stretching and drying hides, 
and the location must be, above all, in the centre of a region 
abounding in game. The spot being decided on, the whole 
band move to it, and everything put in order for work. 

The " dog soldiers " are masters now. All things being 
ready the best hunters are sent out before dawn. The herd 
is selected for slaughter whose position is such that the 
" surround " will least disturb the others. A narrow valley 
with lateral ravines is favourable. If the herd is unfavour- 
ably situated the hunter waits for it to go to water, or by 
discreet appearance at intervals drive it to the best spot. 
During all this time the whole active masculine portion of 
the band is congregated out of sight of the buflalo, silent 
and trembling with excitement. 

The herd being in proper place, the leaders tell off the 
men and send them, under temporary captains, to desig- 
nated positions. Carefully concealed, these parties pour 
down the valley to leeward, and spread gradually on each 
flank of the wind until the herd is surrounded, except on 
the windward side. Seeing that every man is in his place 
and all ready, the head hunter rapidly swings in a party to 
close the gap, gives the signal, and with a yell that would 
almost wake the dead, the whole line dashes and closes on 
the game. 

The buffaloes make desperate rushes, until, utterly be- 
wildered, they almost stand still and await their fate. In a 
few moments the slaughter is complete. 

When bows and arrows were used each warrior, knowing 
his own, had no difficulty in positively identifying the 
buffalo killed by him. These were his property, except 
that he was assessed a certain portion. If arrows of different 
men were found in the same dead buffaloes, the ownership 
was decided by their position. 

Since the use of firearms the identification of the owner 


has been impossible, and new laws of division have been 

The slaughter completed, the " soldiers " retyrn to camp, 
while the women skin, cut up, and carry to camp almost 
every portion of the dead animals. As soon as the women's 
work is done other " surrounds " are made until enough meat 
and skins are obtained. The work 
of the woman is most laborious 
during the ^11 hunt. If the bufla- 
loes are moving the success of the 
hunt may depend upon the rapidity 
with which she performs her work 
on a batch of dead buffaloes. These 
animals spoil very quickly if not 
disembowelled. The men do not j- 
wish to kill in any one day more '■ 
than the squaws tan skin and cut ■ 
up on that same day. 

No sooner are the buffaloes dead I 
than the squaws are at work. The 
skin is removed with marvellous 
celerity. The meat is cut from the 
bones, tied up in the skin, and 
taken to the camp. The entrails, 
emptied and eaten raw, form the 
principal food during the hunt. 
Marrow-bones and ribs roasted on 
the coals serve for delicious suppers. 
All these are prepared by women 
and brought to camp. f,g, 54.— sioux Skin-dress- 

The meat is thoroughly dried '"S Tool, made fron> an 
on the pole scaffolds until it is as %at!'^^aimA"' 
hard as 3 rock. It is then pounded 

into meal by means of stone mauls, and packed in cases 
made of raw-hide (parfleche cases). Melted tallow is poured 
over the whole, which is kept warm until the mass is 
thoroughly saturated. When the meat, now called pem- 


mican, is cold, the parfleches are closed and tied up. The 
contents so prepared will keep in good condition for several 

The skins, as soon as they are emptied of their freight of 
meat, are spread, flesh-side upward, on a level piece of 
ground, small slits cut in the edges of each, and it is 
stretched and fastened down by wooden pegs driven through 
the slits. 

The buffalo hide received three different kinds of treat- 
ment at the hands of these aboriginal skin-dressers. No 
tannin was used, and no leather was really made. The 
thickest hides were selected for shields, parfleches, &c. The 
hair was removed by soaking* the skins in water in which 
wood ashes, or other alkaline substance has been mixed. 
The skin was then cut into the required shape and put on 
a form while green. When it became dry raw-hide, it 
retained its shape, and was almost as hard as iron. 

The second mode of treatment is the production of the 
buffalo robe. The skin in its natural condition is much too 
thick for this purpose, being un wieldly and lacking plia- 
bility. This thickness must be reduced one-half, the 
remaining portion must be uniform throughout, and as soft 
as a piece of cloth. When the stretched skin has become 
dry and hard from the action of the sun, the woman goes to 
work upon it with a small iron instrument, shaped like a 
carpenter^s adze. It has a handle of elk horn, and the blade 
of chipped stone or of iron is lashed on with raw-hide, so as 
to allow of its easy removal for sharpening. With this she 
chips at the hard skin, cutting off a thin shaving at each 
blow. The skill in this process is shown in cutting the skin 
and not cutting through it, and in obtaining a perfectly 
smooth and even inner surface and uniform thickness. To 
render this skin soft and pliable, every little while the 
chipping is stopped and the surface smeared with fat and 
brains of buffalo, which are thoroughly rubbed in with a 
smooth stone. 

The third process on the buffalo hide is for making 


lodges. The hair is taken off, the skin reduced in thickness, 
and the whole made pliable as above. 

In addition to the buffalo hide work, the same tribes dress 
the hides of deer beautifully, producing soft and indispen- 
sable material for clothing.* 

The differentiation of aboriginal work is well shown in 
the foregoing description. The men appear as organised, 
intelligent, obedient to a leader, observant, self-possessed, 
quick-sighted, brave, strong, enduring. The women assume 
the industrial rdles of butchers, meat-packers, cooks, pur- 
veyors, carriers, hide-dressers in three forms, tent-makers, 
clothiers, trimk-makers, shoemakers, modistes, common car- 
riers, and house-builders. 

The apparatus of the Andamanese for pursuit are the 
S-shaped bow, with its arrows of five varieties, the pig spear, 
recently introduced, and the fish or turtle spears. Their 
arrows have no feather, and are held steady in flight by a 
fore-shaft of hard wood. They use no arrow straightener 
but their teeth and fingers to keep the shafts in line. Mr. 
Man draws attention to one " improvement " which would 
now entitle them to a patent. In one style the blade of 
the arrow, the barbs, and the seam into which the tang 
is inserted, are in the same plane, and the seam is used as a 
" sight. '^ In the seamless arrow the barb which is most in 
line with the blade is placed uppermost in shooting. 

In the Malay Archipelago the Sumpitan^ and in South 
America the Sarbacan (Zarahatana)^ and the Pucuna stand 
in the place of our air-guns and rifles. They both discharge 
projectiles from a tube by means of the sudden expansion of 
a gas of some kind. The ingenuity of the savage is put to 
its most efficient exercise in this apparatus. 

Nature supplies the Indian with material for blow-pipes 
all over America where canes of any kind grow. In the 

* Colonel Richard Irving Dodge, The Plains of the Great West^ New 
York, 1877, pp. 353-359. This quotation is necessarily abridged, the 
whole account should be read. Parkman, in The Oregon Trail y gives 
splendid accounts of old-time buffalo hunting. 


Southern States of the Union the Muskhogean stock were 
familiar with them, and the Attacapas and Chetimachas 
lashed several reeds together, thus anticipating the revolver. 
" The quiver for the darts is a neat affair generally, in shape 
of a dice-box. Attached to the quiver is a lid made of the 
tough hide of the tapir. Inside the quiver is a bundle of 
darts, the lower jaw of a perai fish (Serasalmo niger)^ for 
preparing the missiles and some crowia fibre for wadding. 
The darts, each about eight inches long, are made of 
splinters of the woody midrib of the cockerite palm (Maxi- 
miliana regid)^ as sharp as needles, which are dipped in 
urari poison. These darts are fastened together, palisade 
fashion, by means of two parallel plaits of string, and wound 
around a spindle, on the top of which a few sticks are tied 
together in the form of a wheel. This is to protect the 
hand from any chance of contact with the poison-smeared 
points of the darts. When about to use the weapon the 
Indian withdraws one of the darts, wraps around the butt 
end enough wadding to fill the end of the tube cleverly, and 
then, pointing at his game, with a quick puff of his breath 
he drives the dart from the tube. In the lands where noisy 
guns have not frightened the life out of birds and beasts, it 
is easier to steal close upon the game, so as almost to bring 
the point of the tube in contact with its body." ^ 

The blow-tube is a tropical invention, confined to areas 
where the cane abounds. Though it was used by Indians 
of the Southern States of the Union, Colonel Lane Fox is 
correct in saying that the two areas of the full development 
of the apparatus are South America and Southern Asia. 
Four varieties are mentioned by him, the Zarahatana 
and the Pucuna^ in South America ; the Sumpitan^ of 
Borneo, and the Tomeang. Each of these, as will be seen, 
has reference to the work to be done and the materials at 
hand. The Zarabatana is formed of two separate pieces of 

* Cf. im Thurn, Ind, of Brit. Guiana^ Londun, 1883, p. 300. Com- 
pare Wood's Uncivilised Races ^ Hartford, 1870, vol. ii. pp. 465; 583-587. 
Good figures in Wood, though rather dark. 


wood, in each of which is cut a semicircular groove by 
means of the incisor teeth of rodents, so that when they are 
placed in contact with each other they form a long wooden 
rod, pierced with a circular bore. The two halves are 
bound together by means of long stripes oi Jacttara wood. 
The arrow is made of the leaf rib of the Concourite palm, 
wound round at the near end. with wild cotton, in order to 
make it fit the bore. It is pointed by scraping it between 
the sharp teeth of the Pirai fish. The arrow is poisoned, 
and before shooting it the Indian cuts the shaft almost in 
two near the point. The Yameos are said to shoot thirty 
or forty yards with them.* 

The Piicuna is constructed of two portions, the inner 
reed, called Our ah consists of the first joint of the Arundi- 
naria Schomburgkh) which grows on the sandstone ridge of 
the Upper Orinoco. This is inserted in an outer tube, called 
Samourahy which consists of the stem of the palm Ireartta 
setigera^ the interior pulp of which is previously removed, 
and the spaces between the inner and outer tube tamped 
with a black wax made by a wild bee and mixed with 
a pitchy substance. There are varieties of both these 
classes, for the weapon is a widely diffused one in Tropical 

The blow-pipe of Borneo, called Sumpitan^ is of one 
piece, constructed of various kinds of wood, bored with great 
care, like a gun-barrel. The arrows are made of the thorn 
of the sago palm and have a conical piece of pith, or soft 
wood, either solid or hollow, attached to the barbed end. 
The arrows are poisoned and are carried in a bamboo 

The Tomeang is the blow-tube of the Mautras — aborigines 
of the Malay peninsula. It is made, after the fashion of the 
Pucuna^ of two bamboo tubes, one inside the other. The 
outer one is usually ornamented.3 

In Copan even the children go armed with a sarhacan^ 

' Lane Fox, Catalogue^ 6^^., pis. i. and ii., p. 148. 
* Ibid.^ pp. 148-149. 3 Ibid,^ p. 151. 


or blow-tube, an instrument which they use very dex- 
terously and which they have inherited from their earliest 

Fish and fowl inhabit elements inaccessible to man. He 
cannot seize them if he would. As for insects and many 
smaller land mammals, he may pick them up with his 
hands. The first seizers were hands. When men desired 
to take their game from the air or from the waters, they 
had to elongate their arms with poles and to put fingers of 
bone or wood at the end with palms of network. Savages 
were good swimmers and knew how to dive into the depths 
to bring up their treasures, but they also knew how to make* 
rakes for oysters and clams and even for pearls. 

But for the fish he had to devise the dip-net, and uses it 
still. Moreover, with longer hands he secreted himself 
where the migratory birds congregated in vast quantities 
and dipped them from the air much as an entomologist 
secures his insects. In the good old days when wild fish 
were plentiful it was only necessary to wade in the water 
with almost any kind of basket or network to secure a 
dinner. The Quilleute Indians of Cape Flattery make a 
scoop-net like a great barn shovel. On the appearance of 
the fish they rush into the surf and press the outer edge of 
the net down firmly on sand or shingle, the swash of the 
breaker forces the smelts into the net ; then as the water 
recedes the fishermen turn round quickly and hold the net 
so that the undertow will force more smelts into it. In this 
way at least a bushel are taken at a single scoop. This is 
rather better than picking up things with the hand. The 

* Morelet, Travels in Central America^ New York, 1 87 1, p. 334, 
quoting, Taladran sutilmente las zabraUnas con ptias muy largas, 
Herrera, Dec. iv., 1. x., c. 14. Also, "Among the presents which he 
[Montezuma] sent to Cortez were a dozen of these implements, painted 
with considerable skill, &c." Lorenzana, I. ii. p. 100. See also Bancroft, 
Native Races of the Pacific States, for the use of the blow-tube after the 
manner of the modern peashooter, vol. i. p. 627 ; for the style of poisoned 
arrows in vogue on the Isthmus, vol. i. p. 762 ; on clay pellets as blow- 
tube missiles in Guatemala, vol. ii. p. 720. 


dip-net is used by savages quite as often as by civilised man 
in taking fish from the surface of the water after they have 
been drawn up or captured by the hook. Whatever length 
of arm or kind of artificial fingers were demanded they 
were forthcoming. 

The Dyak women join in the sport of wholesale fishing 
and scoop up the small fry with their nets. The scoop-net 
is used chiefly by the women, who are fond of wading up 
the shallows, net in hand and basket slung from the 
shoulder, scooping up the prawns and periwinkles, &c., that 
come in their way.' The most recent modifications of this 
simple process are terribly destructive of marine life. The 
great purse seines worked by steam for gathering fish to be 
used as fertiliser have played havoc with one food supply, 
though they do put back on the land in this way a deal of 
waste from cities. 

Among implements of seizure the hook stands pre- 
eminent, and nothing would be more interesting than a 
series of fish and animal hooks arranged by a patent 
examiner and an ethnologist. The evolution of the hook, 
the adaptation of structure to function, the control of 
environment over material and form would furnish an 
interesting topic for a natural history study. 

The simplest form of a hook is really a barb, though barbs 
on hooks come later. In the same way the Makah Indians 
of Cape Flattery attach a hook to the end of a long pole 
which is held down in the water until a salmon is felt 
against it, when with a quick pull the fish is hooked and 
hauled on board. The modern fisherman cannot dispense 
with the gafF-hook, which is only the savage method im- 

The negroes of the Southern States, and perhaps their 
kindred elsewhere, split the end of a stick, run it into a hole 
wherein a coon or an opossum is hiding, and having twisted 
the fork into the long hair of the animal withdraw it from 
its hiding-place with ease. It used to be said in plantation 
* Ling Roth,/. Anthrop^ Inst.i London, 1892, vol. xxii. p. 50, 


days that the same implement was useful in stealing cotton 
from the warehouse through crannies and knot-holes. 

For the purpose of securing a great many candle-fish or 
oulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) at once, the Salish tribes 
about Port Townsend employ a rake or coarse comb with 
many teeth at the end of a long handle. The fisherman 
draws the rake steadily through a school of the fish and 
impales several at once. The catch is shaken from the 
teeth quickly into the boat and the process repeated. The 
squid gigs of our civilised fishermen are in the same line of 

The barbed spear for fishing is used by the Passama- 
quoddy Indian. In this case we have two motions, a thrust 
and a pull. The Fuegians employ a similar apparatus with 
a detachable barbed point set in a socket and fastened by a 
lanyard to the head of a long shaft. In many Oceanic ex- 
amples the barbed point of a long spear points to the double 
function of thrusting and retrieving. There is no reason 
why this device may not have been useful on land, but it 
blossomed out more vigorously on the sea, and led to the 
invention of many-pointed spears in great variety. The 
Norton Sound Eskimo employ a salmon spear having three 
points attached to the head of the shaft. The central point 
is a plain piece of ivory, but the lateral points are barbed. 
As we follow down the West Coast of America, each region 
presents some curious modification of striking and retriev- 
ing, adapted to the depth of water, the game and the 
material available. Some allowance must be made for 
intelligence in the tribes, but it is difficult to conjecture 
how they could have done better, though the Indians of 
this coast represent a great variety of linguistic stocks. 
The Makah Indians of Puget Sound attach as many as 
five barbed points to the head of a long slender pole for 
killing ducks. ^'At certain times during stormy weather 
the wild fowl congregate in vast numbers in Neah Bay. 
The Indians go out in their canoes with a bright light from 
torches of pitchwood placed in the stern. The canoe is 



paddled stern first among the flocks of wild fowl. The 
birds, bewildered by the light, are killed in great numbers. 
The prongs of the spear get entangled among the feathers 
and hold fast. A bird is hauled in the canoe, its neck 
wrung, and others in succession are quickly speared. 

Sometimes as many as a hundred 
canoes will be out at the same time 
and the light from the torches is an 
interesting sight.* 

There is a class of hunting and 
fishing implements which forms the 
connecting link between those for 
striking and retrieving and the class 
of missiles. Indeed some of the har- 
poons are held in the hand when the 
thrust is made, others are hurled in 
some fashion. 

As to their heads, this class of 
weapons is divided into toggle har- 
poons and barbed harpoons. The 
latter are very simple, consisting of a 
slender shaft, a fore-shaft of bone or 
ivory, a barb fitting loosely into a 
socket in front of the fore-shaft, a 
line running from the barb and 
attached to the shaft by a " bridle *^ at 
two points. These are either plunged 
into the seal or other game, or hurled 
from a " throwing-stick." The barb 
fastens under the skin and slips from 
the fore-shaft. The line unrolls from 
Fig. 56.— Toggle Har- the shaft and the latter stands up in 

poon of Salish Indians, , , . , 1 t_ 

complete and dissected, the water to act as a drag and a buoy. 

A similar device is used by fishers 
after swordfish, only a keg serves for float and a flag for the 
buoy. The whalers substitute also the explosive power of 
gunpowder for the kinetics of the arm. 

' Swan. Smithsotu Cofitributiom^ \oV. x\\. 


The toggle-head harpoon is 
a most complicated affair. Its 
parts may be shaft, fore-shaft, 
loose shaft, toggle-head, ice- 
pick, assembling line, toggle- 
head becket, leader, hand-rest 
and float. The shaft is a stout 
staff of wood, one end of which 
is attached to the ice-pick or 
spud, and to the other the fore- 
shaft of ivory or bone. Upon 
this shaft will also be found 
the hand -rest and the line- 
hook. The loose shaft is a 
rod of ivory, dull pointed at 
both ends, the one fitting into 
the socket of the fore-shaft, 
the other into that of the 
toggle-head. It is also se- 
curely held in place by a line 
passing through a perforation 
near its base, and one through | 
the fore-shaft. The object 
of this most ingenious piece 
is to assist in mounting the 
toggle-head for action, and to 
prevent the breaking of the 
weapon by a sudden lateral 
strain, in which case the loose 
shaft slips from its shallow 
socket. The toggle-head is the 
part that enters the body of 
the animal, is turned at right 
angles by the line passing 
through a hole in its middle, 
and acts as a toggle in pre- 
venting escape. This line is 


sometimes carried back and attached to the shaft, in which 
case the shaft acts as a drag, and a buoy at other times, or 
the leader is made fast to a long walrus-hide line at the 
extremity of which will be one or more seal-skins blown up 
for floats. The variations from these general featuries are 
innumerable, and constitute the natural history of the im- 
plement. Some of the heads are of tiny proportions, while 
others weigh a pound. In one locality the whale is the 
game, in others the walrus, the seal or even the sea otter. 
The shaft proclaims also poverty or abundance of wood or 
ivory, contact with white men, and even trade with Indians 
inland. There is no better piece of savage mechanism on 
which to compare the workings of different aboriginal 
minds aiming at perfection. And this seemed to have been 
attained, for until the coming of gunpowder and explosive 
bullets, the white man copied implicitly the work of the 
savage. Economy begetting caution is set forth in the 
" assembling line," which is a raw-hide string, passing from 
ice-pick to toggle-head, making knots and half hitches at 
short intervals to insure the salvation of the parts if the 
weapon be broken.* 

The Dyoor capture the crocodile with an apparatus 
resembling the harpoon with bone barb of the American 
Indians. The apparatus consists of three parts, a barbed 
head of iron, a long shaft of wood, with a socket at one end 
to receive the barbed head loosely, and a stout line 
attached to the middle of its shank and to the long shaft 
near the socket. The attachment of this line to the middle 
of the shank is very ingenious, since it converts it at the 
same time into a toggle-head. =" 

The " throwing stick " above mentioned, as a hurler of 

' For most elaborate accounts of the harpoon and of seal-hunting, with 
many illustrations, see Boas in Sixth An, Rep* Bui\ EthnoLy 1888, pp. 
471-501, figs. 390-437; and Murdoch, Ninth An, Rep, Bur, Ethnol,^ 
Washington, 1892, pp. 218-240, figs. 206-240, and compare with von 
Schrenk, Reisen^ dfCt im Amur-Lande^ St. Petersburg, vol. iii. 

^ Schweinfiirth, Artes African ae, London, 1875, Sampson Low, pi. ii., 
fig. 17. 


the harpoon, is found in both Australia and among the 
Eskimo everywhere, as well as in many parts of Middle 
and South America. The essential parts of this implement 
are the groove for the dart, the hook for the end of the 
dart, and the provisions for the fingers. Almost all the 
Eskimo specimens are right-handed, while those further 
south fit either hand. 

With this dart-sling the hunter adds an extra joint to his 
arm, and this hurls his javelin with more deadly effect. 
Inseparable from this weapon in North America is the 
bird trident, which consists of a slender shaft, to the end or 
to the middle of which three barbs are lashed. In the latter 
case an extra barbed point is placed on the front end. The 
purpose of this weapon is to cripple ducks and other birds 
on the wing. 

The throwing stick is used to hurl the barbed harpoon, 
but the Greenland Eskimo attach it to the side of the great 
harpoon, which new device indicates that the throwing 
stick travelled from West to East. 

The sling is of the same nature as the throwing stick, 
only the velocity 'is intensified by the whirling of the sling 
around the head. Here and there it is in use in pursuit of 
game, but it is not found to be a universal favourite in 

For the seizure of swift animals, the lasso, in its various 
forms, must not be omitted. It is a noose at the end of a 
long line. This form of capture occurs also in the series 
of traps, where the victim more or less consciously places its 
head into a noose. But the lasso is virtually a long 
tentacle, which the hunter thrusts out with great dexterity, 
and seizes the poor creature by the horns or the legs. It is 
known all over the Americas. Even the Eskimo boys 
are said to be expert in the use of it. But it is virtually an 

' See Mason, Report U, S, Nat, Mus., 1884, and Proc, U, S, Nat, Mm,, 
Washington, 1893, p. 219. Both articles illustrated and authorities given. 
See also Lane Fox, Catalogue, p. 38; Murdoch, Ninth An, Rep. Bur, 
Ethnol,, Washington, 1892, pp. 210-217, figs. 195-205. 


instrument of domestication, and was most probably intro- 
duced into the Western World from abroad. 
Quite similar to the lasso is the bolas, an apparatus for 

tripping or entangling game. The Eskimo tie little balls 
of ivory or bone at the ends of strong sinew cords at least a 
yard long. Half a dozen of these are joined together at the 
ends away from the balls. The hunter whirls one over his 


head and hurls it among a flock of geese or ducks, so that 
the balls will spread out in their flight. One of them is 
sure to entangle itself around the wing or limb of a bird and 
bring it down.* 

In South America the balls of the bolas weigh a pound 
each, and the apparatus is used on ostriches, the guanacos, 
and even upon horses and cattle. 

** When the Patagonian goes out hunting he carries no 
weapon except a bolas and a knife. . . . Should he see a 
herd of guanacos, he makes silently towards them, imita- 
ting the cry of the young one in distress. . . . When a 
small herd is seen, they can generally be enticed within 
range by a hunter on foot who plays various antics, such ad 
lying on his back and kicking his legs in the air, waving a 
bunch of feathers. The inquisitive creatures seem unable to 
resist the promptings of their curiosity, and though they are 
really afraid of the strange object, come closer and closer 
until the hunter is able to hurl the terrible bolas at them.'* • 

One of the curious devices of the seal hunter is his little 
probe with which he ascertains the presence of the seal at 
the breathing hole. It is a rod of antler or ivory, not 
larger than the knitting needles for coarse worsted. A 
thread of sinew is attached to one end, and the other end 
is allowed to drop down through the hole. The seal 
approaching pushes up the rod with its nose, very much as 
a perch plays with the fisherman's bait, and informs the 
hunter just when and where to strike. 

The arrow has some forms in each country devoted to 
the exclusive purpose of killing and retrieving fish and 
game, and never used to kill men. 

The Point Barrow natives have an arrow called *' sleep-a- 
night- and-die." It is a long, slender, barbed head of bone 
or ivory, very loosely fitted into a socket in the end of the 
shaft. Shot into a reindeer or bear, this arrow goes search* 
ing for some vital part at each step of the creature, and at 

' Murdoch, Ninth An, Rep, Bur, EthnoLy p. 245, figs. 247, ^48. 
* Wood, Unciv, Races ^ Hartford, 1870, vol. ii. p. 532. 


I I 


last rankles in the wound until the game succumbs. Fishing 
arrows with barbs are universal. The South American 
turtle arrows combine some of the features of the Eskimo 
barbed harpoon, only in the South American turtle arrow 
j ! the socket is in the barbed head. This barbed and socketed 

head is found on fish spears along the )jVest Coast of the 
United States. 

The Aleutian islanders have an arrow which operates in 
precisely the same manner as the barbed harpoon with a 
bridle. Nothing could exceed the delicate complexity of 
this apparatus with its bulbous nock, its neatly trimmed 
feathers, its slender fore-shaft, into which fits a dainty barb 
of bone or native copper attached to the shaft in two places 
by a line and bridle of beautifully braided sinew cord. Of 
course the Papuan arrows are more ornate, but these are 
the most highly finished projectiles in the world. 

Among the Siouan as well as among other tribes 
dwelling on the plains of the Great West, men went out 
singly or in small numbers to hunt. But there existed, 
besides this method, a more general" practice of co-operative 
hunting worthy of mention. 

In the first place, these expeditions had their special 
seasons, when the corn and pumpkins had been planted, the 
beans gathered, and the like. They terminated, says 
Dorsey, when the wind blew upon the sunflowers, which 
was about the first of September. It was then the whole 
people camped in the tribal circle on the open prairies. 
The fall or winter hunt was organised first in accordance with 
the weather, or, some would say, the weather gave form to 
the autumn hunt. Again, the state of the game had some- 
what to say along this line, for it was then that the hides 
were covered with thick hair, or at this season the food was 
in good condition.^ 

In the next chapter will be studied the conflict of mind 
between men and animals. 

* Consult Dorsey, Third An. Rep. Bur. Ethfiol.yioi an extended account 
of the Omaha hunting customs, pp. 283-302. 



** The nature of wild animals doesn't change like the nature of men ; 
we have grown wiser, while they have remained the same." — IIalsey 

In the foregoing chapter on the killing and seizing of 
animals, the inventive faculty was engaged in a duel 
between men and brutes. The present chapter will be 
concerned with the outwitting and the enslaving of animals, 
a branch of our subject which may be called zootechny. 
The successful hunter of fish and birds and beasts must 
needs know a great deal about their homes, their habits, 
their times, and seasons. He is indeed a naturalist. But 
he acquires his knowledge for the sake of using force upon 
them. In this his intellect is stimulated, inventions are 
developed, great rewards are secured, and tribal genius is 

But when the hunters or the fishermen had in mind to 
outwit their prey and to induce them to ensnare themselves 
or commit self-slaughter, the thoughts involved were of a 
higher order, the social structures brought about thereby 
was more highly organised, the apparatus used had more 
parts and came nearer to the idea of machinery. Indeed, 
the outcome of this series of activities has been the connec- 
tion of animals with machines of many kinds. In the trap- 
ping of animals the intellect of the man plays a game of 

skill with the instincts and thoughts of the brute. 



A convenient classification of devices for inducing animals 
to offer themselves to human comfort is into tackle and 
traps. The former is a general term for apparatus used in 
the water, the latter in land pursuit. 

For ensnaring water animals the fisherman has two plans 
which he follows, namely, (i) to set his meshing or his 
labyrinthine nets where the marine animals will uncon- 
sciously swim into them in the ordinary routine of their 
lives ; (2) to bait his hooks with such things or in such 
fashion as to tempt the aquatic epicure to swallow hook and 

The savage man's skill in fishing is undoubted, and has 
always been the admiration and the envy of the civilised. 
The gill-net, the fish-trap, the weir, the pound, the tide- 
trap are well known to the aborigines of all the continents. 
The fish-hooks of savages are generally without barbs. The 
great abundance of these animals before their wholesale 
destruction in recent times enabled the fisherman to have 
his choice without much trouble. On the coast of California 
shell-hooks have barbs, and such is the case with some 
Polynesian examples. But in the Madisonville Cemetery, 
Ohio, Putnam found only barbless hooks. The usual pat- 
terns are the toggle and the angular form made in two 

In his work on aboriginal fishing. Dr. Charles Rau gives 
great attention to fish-hooks. From our point of view, the 
baited hook can only be here considered. This is, of course, 
a device for assassination. The appetites and habits, the 
weaknesses and idiosyncrasies of the animal are thoroughly 
studied, and the fisherman comes to his victim as an angel 
of light. The bait is eagerly seized, the lurking spine does 
its treacherous work, and the fish is high and dry. The full 
discussion of the subject involves hooks without barbs, hooks 
with barbs, lines, sinkers, floats, reel, line holders, live pens, 
and primitive anglers' outfits of every sort.* 
The Dyaks have many ways of fishing : 

' Cf. Rau, " Aboriginal Fishing," Smith fon Contribution to Knowledge > 


1. Angling, which they commence at an early age. 

2. Diving into rocky pools and pulling fish from the 

3. With scoop-nets, chiefly by women, in shallow pools. 

4. With the casting-net. 

5. With barbed spear and with pronged spear. 

6. With traps, large and small. 

7. By torch-light, with spear and with hand-net. 

8. With poison.* 

Some of these methods are for killing the fish outright, or 
for arresting them, and belong in the last chapter ; but the 
Dyaks are very ingenious, and some of the processes 
described by the author exhibit a careful study of natural 
history and habits of mind. 

The Samoan islanders in making their fish-hooks cut a 
strip off the pearl-shell two to three inches long, and rub it 
smooth on a stone so as to resemble a small fish. On the 
under-side they fasten a fluke made of tortoise-shell. Along- 
side the hook, concealing its point, in imitation of the fins 
of a little fish, they fasten two small white feathers.^ This 
delicious bit of deception is riot unknown to modern fisher- 
men, who find it extremely difficult to devise a more 
enticing lure than the pearl-backing of a Polynesian fish- 
hook. Ellis tells us that in no part of the world, perhaps, 
are the inhabitants better fishermen. He then describes a 
variety of hooks, each worthy of study, in that the maker^s 
motive is to have the fish catch itself so far as this can be 
done, by pandering to the weaknesses and foibles of the 
creature. They troll for the bonito as we do for blue fish, 
but they had also an invention still more ingenious. " A 
pair of light, swift canoes are selected. Between their bows 
a broad, deep basket, constructed of fern-stalks interwoven 
with the tough fibre of the icie^ is fastened to contain the 
fish and not impede the rowers. To the fore-part of the 
canoes a long curved pole is fastened, branching in opposite 

' Ling Roth,y. Antkrop, Inst,^ London, 1892, vol. xxii. p. 50. 
" Turner, Samoay London, 1884, p. 168. 


directions at the outer end. From each of the projecting 
branches lines with pearl-shell hooks are suspended, and so 
adjusted as to be kept near the surface of the water. To 
that part of the pole which is divided into two branches, 
strong ropes are attached, extending to the stern of the 
canoe, where they are held by persons watching the seizure 
of the hook. The tira^ or mast, projects a considerable 
distance beyond the stern of. the canoe, and bunchies of 
feathers are fastened to its extremities. This is done to 
resemble the aquatic birds that follow the course of the 
small fish, and often pounce down and divide the prey which 
the large ones pursue. As the bonitos follow the course of 
the birds as much as that of the fishes, when the fishermen 
perceive the birds they proceed to the place, and usually 
find the fish. When the fish perceives the pearl hook it 
dashes after it and is caught. The men in the stern of the 
canoe immediately haul up the tira and drag in the fish, 
suspended as it were from a kind of shears. When the fish 
is removed the shears are lowered and the rowers hasten 
after the shoal. ^ 

The Tahitian outwits the cuttle-fish in the following 
manner. " These creatures resort to the holes in the coral 
rock and protrude their arms for the bait of the unsophisti- 
cated fisherman, while they themselves remain firm within 
the retreat. The instrument employed is a rod of polished 
wood, half an inch thick and a foot long. Near one end of 
this a number of beautiful pieces of shell are fastened, one 
over another like the scales of a fish, until it is the size of a 
turkey^s egg. This is lowered by a strong line from a canoe. 
The fisherman jerks the line until the cuttle-fish darts out 
one arm and winds it about the shell and fastens among the 
opening between the plates. The fisherman continues play- 
ing with the line until the animal has fastened every one of 
its rays to the shell, when it is drawn up into the canoe and 
secured." * 

* Ellis, Polynes* Researches^ London, 1859, vol. i. pp. 147-149, fig. on 
p. 148. " Ibid,y p. 144. 


In Sarawak an " alir " is a stick of tough wood, say ten 
inches long, sharp at both ends and grooved around the 
middle. To the alir is attached a short bit of line braided 
from soft, tough bark, and to the end of this a long rattan 
rope, and to the extreme end of the rope a cocoanut-shell 
float. A bait covers the alir, and the line is suspended 
from a limb so that the former may hang just above the 
water. The crocodile swallows the bait, the alir toggles in 
his stomach, the cocoanut shows the hunter where to find 
his game, and by means of the rattan-line he drags it to 

The Polynesians used to catch the au^ or needle-fish, in 
the following manner. They built a number of rafts, each 
about fifteen feet long and six feet wide, from the light 
branches of the hibiscus wood. At one edge of each raft a 
screen was raised four or five feet high by fixing poles laid 
horizontally one above another to upright sticks. Men on 
the rafts went out so as to enclose a large space of water, 
having the screen on the outside of each raft. They gradu- 
ally approached until the rafts touched one another, forming 
a connected circle in some shallow part of the lake. One or 
two persons then went out in a canoe toward the enclosed 
space, with long white sticks, which they struck on the 
water with a great noise, driving the fish towards the rafts. 
On approaching these the fish darted out of the water, and 
in attempting to spring over the raft struck against the 
screen and fell on the surface of the raft, where they were 
gathered into baskets or into canoes outside.^ 

In the old plantation days the negroes about the Chesa- 
peake Bay used to go out in dugouts with torches. The 
light attracted the weak fish, as the fishermen called them, 
and they were caught in great numbers in trying to leap 
over the boat ; and I have heard it said that the torch at 
times had to be extinguished to keep the fish from sinking 
the craft. 

' Hornaday, Tiao Years in a Jungle^ New York, 1885, p. 305, fig. on 
p. 307. * C/» Ellis, Polyrus. Researches, London, 1859, vol. i. p. 140. 


** Angling for fish under the ice in winter," says Hearne, 
" requires no other process than cutting round holes in the 
ice from one to two feet in diameter, and letting down a 
baited hook, which is always kept in motion, not only to 
prevent the water from freezing so soon as it would do if 
suffered to remain quite still, but because it is found at. the 
same time to be a great means of alluring the fish to the 
hole ; for it is always observed that the fish in those . parts 
will take a bait which is in motion much sooner than one 
that is at rest." ' 

No sooner had our savage learned to knit than he began 
to entangle the beasts of the fields, the fowls of the air, and 
the fish of the sea. That is, he set his nets in the woods 
for the beasts, in the fields for the birds, and in the waters 

; for the fish. His designs on these creatures may have been 

f either to encircle them or to entangle them. In the one 

[ case the victim was in a trap, in the other case it was in a 

li mesh. 

f The operations included in net-making are those of the 

spinner, the net-maker, the rope-maker, the wood-worker, 

j and the stone-worker, though the savage did not put so 

i much labour on his sinkers as he did upon the clever devices 

by which he fastened a common stone to his net. 

Hearne says the spinning of the twine and forming the 

( net is a textile art, and all other parts of the manufacture 

have their mechanical side. The drag-net, the purse-net, 
s^nd other encircling devices, are ancient. Even the gill-net 
is prehistoric. ** To set a net under the ice it is first neces- 
sary to ascertain its exact length by stretching it out upon 
the ice near the part proposed for setting it. This being 
done, a number of round holes are cut in the ice, at ten or 
twelve feet distance from each other, and as many in 
number as will be sufficient to stretch the net at its full 

j length. A line is then passed under the ice by means of a 

long light pole, which is first introduced at one of the end 

J holes, and by means of two forked sticks this pole is easily 

^ * Hearne, /oifntej't <2r»r., London, 1795, Strahan, p. 15. 


SHAN BASKETRY. {Kep. U. S. Nat. MuseUfH, 1888, pi, nxxii. After Niblack.) 


conducted, or passed from one hole to another, under the 
ice, till it arrives at the last. The pole is then taken out, 
and, both ends of the line being properly secured, is always 
ready for use. The net is made fast to one end of the line 
by one person, and hauled under the ice by a second ; a 
large stone is tied to each of the lower corners, which serves 
to keep the net expanded, and prevents it rising from the 
bottom with every waft of the current. In. order to search 
a net thus set, the two end holes only are opened, the line 
is veered away by one person, and the net hauled from 
under the ice by another ; after all the fish are taken out, 
the net is easily hauled back to its former station, and there 
secured as before/^ ' Every reader will recall the method 
of hauling a cable of telegraph wires into a city conduit or 
the halyards on a flag. The author has seen gill-nets from 
the Saskatchewan country, described by Hearne. They were 
made of the wild hemp, willow bark, and from grass fibres 
of which the species were unknown. The twine was two 
ply, and not over a millimetre in diameter. The netting 
was excellent, the threads being joined by the common 
square knot. 

The trick of asphyxiating fish and catching them before 
they recovered their self-possession is very widely spread. 
" Among the reefs [of Tahiti] and near the shore many fish 
are seized by preparing an intoxicating mixture from the 
nuts of the huteo {Be touted splendidd)^ or the hora^ another 
native plant. When the water is impregnated with these 
preparations, the fish come from their retreats in great 
numbers, float on the surface, and are easily caught." ^ 

This empirical result occurring in many places wide 
apart is worthy of careful notice in studying the vexed 
question of the origin of similarities in culture, and argues 
for a thoughtful ness on the part of savages not usually 
accorded to them. 

* l^tdLTdty Journey i dr'c., London, 1795, Strahan, p. 16, 

' Ellis, Pofynes. /Researches, London, 1859, Bohn, vol. i. p. 140. 


The favourite mode of fishing among the Dyaks is with 
the tubat root (Memspermum)^ the juice of which is baled 
into a stream to poison its waters, and to cause the fish to 
rise stupefied to the surface. Basket-work screens are first 
erected to prevent the escape of the fish into pure water. 
Each person brings a bundle of ttibat root. A reach is 
selected where suitable stones abound. It must be two or 
three hours' pull from the entrance, or the sport will be 
over too soon. The canoes line either bank, and at a given 
signal the entire party commence to hammer out the root 
and soak it in the water in the bottom of the boats. "A few 
minutes later, when all hands are ready, the poisoned liquid 
is baled into the stream, and the canoes, after a short pause, 
begin to drift slowly down the current, and as the fish rise 
to the surface they are speared with fish forks or captured 
with hand nets. The women join in the sport and scoop 
up the small fry with their nets." ^ 

As a survival of a very ancient practice the following 
account from Thomson relates to a member of the Semitic 
stock, all of whose tribes have long since risen above 
savagery : " An old Arab sat on a low cliff and threw 
poisoned crumbs as far as he could reach [in the sea of 
Galilee], which the fish seized, and turning over dead were 
washed ashore and collected for market. The natives 
around Lake Huleh sometimes cast into the water a fruit 
which so stupefies the fish that they are easily caught with 
the hand." ^ 

It is true that they capture one fish at a time, but they 
are practising a declining art, and this always degrades the 
apparatus and the processes of more vigorous ancestors. 
A trap as distinguished from a weapon is a device whose 
function is to induce an animal to imprison itself or to 
commit self-destruction. The creature does not attack the 
trap — there is no war between it and the trap. The appa- 

* Ling Roth, J, Anthrop, Inst,, London, 1892, V9I. xxii. p. 51. 
' Thomson, The Land and the Book, New York, 1880, vol. ii. p. 394, 
quoting Tristram, Land of Israel, pp. 429, 430. 


ratus is the result of study, of induction, of adaptation of 
means to ends. The maker does not endeavour to enforce 
his ideas on his victim, he practically says, I shall consult 
your tastes and your wishes wholly. Indeed, if in the war 
of man on nature the destruction of animals by weapons 
may be likened to tactics, the capture of animals by any 
sort of trap may be called strategy. Every feeling and 
every thought of the animal is made to subserve the 

Dr. G. B. Goode, in his report on animal resources at 
the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, divides traps 
into pen-traps, grasping or clutching traps, falling traps, 
missile traps, and adhesive preparations. The simplest 
of pen-traps is one into which the animal — fish, flesh, 
or fowl — enters, but it cannot go out. Pitfalls, salmon 
baskets, eel-traps, pockets of all kind, are of this class. 
The problem is to foreknow where the game will go 
and to take them unawares. No bait is used, but decoys 
are frequently employed to attract and absorb the atten- 
tion of the unwary. Labyrinthine traps and weirs, lobster 
pots, set nets, fykes, and pounds, have all for motive 
to get the victim to incarcerate itself. It may be that the 
savage mind went no further, but men in civilised com- 
munities, as in Virginia, still set box and pen traps for 
rabbits, partridges, opossums, and coons, and boys drive 
whole flocks of quails into wing nets set in the fields by 
riding cautiously to the leeward on horseback. 

The clutching or grasping trap is a device for seizing the 
victim either by the foot or by the neck. In the former 
case it simply sets its foot down into an artificial hand, made 
of cord, or other material. In the latter case, driven by 
hunger or a refined taste, it puts its head in a position to be 
gibbetted, and becomes its own executioner. To this class 
belong footpath snares, springes, snoods, spring-traps, and 
even our common mouse-traps. The custom of arresting 
by the foot and of garrotting are very ancient, therefore, 
and both are in full operation in our own day. 


The fall trap is an apparatus which causes the victim 
to imprison or kill itself by crushing, by slashing, or by 
piercing. Dead falls, whether sprung by the hunter or by 
his victim, are well known to all savages. In some, the 
mere passing through a close place releases the fall when 
the animal brushes against a trigger. Whether the " figure 
four " or some other method be adopted, a stick is brought 
very delicately into a position where a nibble or the 
slightest touch will cause it to slip from its moorings. This 
releases or removes a support, and the whole weight comes 
down. An improvement on the use of a mere weight is 
seen in that of appliances in which a spear, a harpoon, or 
some deadly thing is attached. These last-named inven- 
tions are used chiefly in slaying those huge beasts against 
which early man^s puny arms were unavailable, beasts that 
could never be tamed nor harnessed, but stood in the path 
of the higher life.' 

The cross-bow trap was little known in savagery. It 
belongs to barbarism rather, and culminates in the tiger 
gun of Asia. In this line of invention- is a trap used by 
the aborigines of Alaska and North-eastern Asia. They 
make a loop, or endless rope or becket, of sinew, and 
stretch it over the ends of two stakes driven firmly in 
the ground about a foot apart. A club of tough wood is 
twisted into the rope until not another turn can be 
taken, just as in tightening a woodsaw. In the other 
end of the wood is a sharp blade of stone or metal. 
When the wood is drawn back and fastened with a notched 
stick, a bait is set on the other side of the trap. The 
fox or other animal takes the bait, the knife is released, 
flies over and brains it. The Dyak pete or spring bow 
consists of a single bamboo lance attached to an elastic 
stem. It is laid in a horizontal direction above the ground 
about the height of the animal it is intended to transfix. A 
sapling bent for the purpose forms the spring by being held 
back. A string crosses the path, the least touch of which 

* J. H. Porter, Wild Beasts, New York, 1894, Scribner. 


loosens the spring, which forces the bamboo in a straight 
line across the path, and consequently through the animal.^ 

A Chinese rat-trap in the United States National Museum 
is furnished with a spring whose end moves horizontally on 
being released, precisely after the fashion of the Dyak trap. 
Two pieces of bamboo are hinged at the top like a pair of 
dividers. The rat puts his head between these, touches the 
bait, the strip of bamboo straightens, and the thief finds 
himself in the stocks. 

Adhesive preparations like bird-lime were used in securing 
birds, chiefly for their beautiful plumage. Such sport would 
have little attraction for bustling savages. But in Hawaii, 
where the showy feathers were wrought into necklaces, 
capes, cloaks, helmets, and shields, the hunters were eager 
to catch the birds. In the islands the creatures were scarce. 
To slay them was to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. 
Therefore the gum of the breadfruit tree and the viscid 
milk of the arboreal lobeliads was smeared on the branches 
that the birds frequented.^' It is astonishing how little 
resistance will prevent a bird from leaving the perch. The 
initial effort of flying is very great, and just a little resist- 
ance added to the weight of the bird will keep it at rest. 
The Zuni Indians use a little horsehair snood on the top 
of a sunflower stalk in place of bird-lime to catch hawks, 
as will be seen further on. 

The Crees in the Saskatchewan country captured large 
numbers of buffalo in pounds. In some enclosed dell at the 
end of a long valley they built a circular fence one hundred 
feet or more iii diameter. Trunks of trees were laced to- 
gether by means of withes, and braced by outside supports. 
Leading to an opening in this fence were two diverging 
rows of felled trees and bushes, extending some miles into 
the prairie. The herd were directed towards these wings by 
men in hiding, who appeared for a moment and waved their 

' Ling Roth,y. An£krop, Inst,^ London, 1892, vol. xxii. p. 46. 
^ Cf* Brigham, Cat, Bishop Muieum^ Honolulu, 1892, p. 10. 


robes in the right direction. In passing between the wings 
the buffalo were kept in their courses by men and women 
appearing at openings therein. At the entrance to the 
pound there was a log about a foot thick, and on the inner 
side an excavation sufficiently deep to prevent the buffalo 
from leaping back. The animals galloped about the pound, 
crushed one another, were shot by the hunters at the fence, 
gored one another until the whole number, say two or three 
hundred, lay in one common slaughter.' In this example 
there is a mixture of assault and strategy, and it marks a 
more complex type of inventions. 

" When the Indians design to impound deer," says Hearne, 
" they look out for one of the paths in which a number of 
them have trod, and which is observed to be still frequented 
by them. When these paths cross a lake, a wide river, or a 
barren plain, they are found to be much the best for the 
purpose ; and if the path run through a cluster of woods, 
capable of affording materials for building the pound, it 
adds considerably to the commodiousness of the situation. 
The pound is built by making a strong fence with brushy 
trees, without observing any degree of regularity, and the 
work is continued to any extent, according to the pleasure 
of the builders. I have seen some that were not less than a 
mile round, and am informed that there are others still 
more extensive. The door, or entrance of the pound, is not 
larger than a common gate, and the inside is so crowded 
with small counter-hedges as very much to resemble a 
maze, in every opening of which they set a snare, made 
with thongs of parchment deer-skins well twisted together, 
which are amazingly strong. One end of the snare is 
usually made fast to a growing pole ; but if no one of a 
sufficient size can be found near the place where the snare is 
set, a loose pole is substituted in its room, which is always 
of such size and length that a deer cannot drag it far before 
it gets entangled among the other woods, which are all left 

* Hind, Canadian Red River, ^c, London, 1890, Longmans, vol. i. 
PP 357-359. 


Standing except what is found necessary for making the 
fence, hedges, &c. The pound being thus prepared, a row 
of small brushwood is stuck up in the snow on each side 
the door or entrance ; and these hedgerows are continued 
along the open part of the lake, river, or plain, where 
neither stick nor stump besides is to be seen, which makes 
them the more distinctly observed. These poles or brush- 
wood are generally placed at the distance of fifteen or 
tAventy yards from each other, and ranged in such a manner 
as to form two sides of a long acute angle, growing gradually 
wider in proportion to the distance they extend from the 
entrance to the pound, Avhich sometimes is not less than two 
or three miles ; while the deer's path is exactly along the 
middle, between the two rows of brushwood." ' 

The wolf trap of the Central Eskimo is similar to the one 
used to catch deer. The hole dug in the snow is about 
eight or nine feet deep and is covered with a slab of snow, 
on the centre of which a bait is laid. A wall is built 
around it which compels the wolf to leap across it before he 
can reach the bait. By so doing he breaks through the 
roof, and as the bottom of the pit is too narrow to afford 
him jumping room, he is caught and killed there.^ 

Livingstone gives many ways of overcoming the African 
elephant by strategy. They dig deep wedge-shaped pitfalls, 
carefully cover them over and plaster them so as to have 
the appearance of the rest of the path. Many females and 
young are destroyed by this last means. These methods are 
often rendered futile by one elephant helping another out 
of a pitfall, or by the sagacious beast snuffing danger and 
quitting the country. Even when successful it can only be 
with one animal, for the others at once forsake the district if 
one of their number falls a victim.3 

' He&rnQ,/ourfiej/, i^c, London, 1795, Strahan, p. 78. 

^ Boas, St'xik An. Rep, Bur. EthnoL^ 1888, quoting Rae, Narrative^ 
<5r»^., London, 1850, Boone, p. 135. 

• 3 Livingstone, y. Ray, Geog, Soc.^ London, 1855, vol. xxv. p. 220; also 
Trav, in S. Africa^ New York, 1858, Harpers, p. 82. 


A second method described by many travellers for way- 
laying the elephant is by means of a log of wood, having a 
poisoned spear-head inserted. It is suspended above the 
elephant^s path by means of a cord, which is secured to a 
small wooden catch on the ground. When the catch is 
touched by the foot of the elephant in passing along, the 
beam falls on his back and the barbed spear-head remains. 
In this case the trust of the hunter lies in his poison, as 
well as the hope that the barbed head will rankle in the 
wound or move on to reach some vital part. 

" In the Dyak pitfall the bottom of the excavation is 
staked with bamboo or iron wood spikes, in order to impale 
the victim who falls therein." ' In Africa it is common to 
leave a cone of earth in a pitfall, or to make the pit double, 
so that the victim will rest on the belly and have its legs 
dangling on either side away from the bottom. If the 
animal is not killed by the fall, the hunter has no difficulty 
in despatching his helpless victim. 

Somewhat similar in structure and function to the gill-net 
is the whole class of snares, snoods, springes, which do for 
the land animal what the former does for the fishes, namely, 
catch them about the necks and choke them to death. 

To snare partridges, the Indians of North-western 
Canada, says Hearne, make a few little hedges across a creek 
or a few short hedges projecting at right angles from the 
side of an island of willows, which those birds are found to 
frequent. Openings must be left in each hedge, and in each 
of them a snare must be set. The partridges hopping along 
the willows to feed are soon caught. But the following 
more extended account is excellent, inasmuch as it brings 
out the entire details of the intellectual duel between men 
and birds : — 

" To snare swans, geese, or ducks, in the water, it requires 
no other process than to make a number of hedges, or fences, 
project into the water, at right angles, from a bank of a river, 
lake, or pond ; for it is observed that those birds generally 

» Ling Roth,y. Anthrop, Inst., London,. 1892, vol. xxii. p. 47. 



swim near the margin, for the benefit of feeding on the 
grass, &c. Those fences are continued for some distance 
from the shore, and separated two or three yards from each 
other, so that openings are left sufficiently large to let the 
birds swim through. In each of those openings a snare is 
hung and fastened to a stake, which the bird, when en- 
tangled, cannot drag from the bottom ; and to prevent the 
snare from being wafted out of its proper place by the wind, 
it is secured to the stakes which form the opening with 
tender grass which is easily broken. This method, though 
it has the appearance of being simple, is nevertheless 
attended with much trouble, particularly when we consider 
the smallness of their canoes, and the great inconveniency 
they labour under in performing works of this kind in the 
water. Many of the stakes used on these occasions are of a 
considerable length and size, and the small branches which 
form the principal part of the hedges are not arranged 
without much caution, for fear of oversetting the canoes, 
particularly where the water is deep, as it is in some of the 
lakes ; and in many of the rivers the current is very swift, 
which renders this business equally troublesome. When 
the lakes and rivers are shallow, the natives are frequently 
at the pains to make fences from shore to shore. To snare 
those birds in their nests requires a considerable degree of 
art and, as the natives say, a great deal of cleanliness ; for 
they have observed that when snares have been set by those 
whose hands were not clean, the birds would not go into 
the nest. Even the goose, though a simple bird, is notori- 
ously known to forsake her eggs if they are breathed on by 
the Indians. The smaller species of birds which make their 
nests in the ground are by no means so delicate ; of course 
less care is necessary to snare them. It has been observed 
that all birds which build in the ground go into their nest 
at one particular side, and out of it on the opposite. The 
Indians, thoroughly convinced of this, always set the snares 
on the side on which the bird enters the nest ; and if care 
be taken in setting tl em, seldom fail of seizing their object. 


For small birds such as larks, and many others of equal size, 
the Indians only use two or three hairs out of their head ; 
but for larger birds, particularly swans, geese, and ducks, 
they make snares of deer sinews twisted like pack-thread, 
and occasionally of a small thong cut from a parchment 
deer-skin." ^ 

The Similkameen Indians of British Columbia snared 
deer by bending down two saplings, one on either side of a 
deer run, and suspending a noose between their tops. The 
deer w6re then driven down the run by men and dogs. 
Bounding heedlessly along, the frightened animal was 
involved in the noose, and its struggles releasing the 
saplings, the deer was hung by the neck.« 

Among the same Indians, remarks Mrs. Allison, before 
the days of shot guns, birds were snared in slip nooses set in 
trees which they frequented. The Fool bird, a species of 
grouse quite deserving its name, was caught with a loop 
tied to the end of a long pole. This loop was thrown over 
the bird's head, and the victim was " yanked off the tree 
or bush on which it sat." 3 

The greater familiarity of wild creatures with mankind 
before the terrible fright produced by the noise of firearms 
is suggested by this statement, and must be always borne in 
mind in studying the relations of true savagery to the 
animal kingdom. 

The Zuiii Indians have a funny way of catching a hawk by 
lassoing its foot. Places for lighting are scarce in the fields 
where the hawks hunt the field mice. So the Zuiii drive 
stalks of sunflower into the ground, on the top of which 
they fix horsehair nooses. The hawk comes down and 
kindly puts its foot into the noose. As soon as it makes an 
eiffort to fly the noose brings it to perch ; it can't let go, 
it can't fly, so after an effort or two it waits calmly for the 
Zuni to come along and knock it on the head. 

* Hearne,yb«r«^^, dr'f., London, 1795, Strahan, p. 275. 

^ Mrs. S. S. Allison, y. Anthrop, Inst.^ London, 1892, vol. xxi. p. 306. 

3 Ibid.^ p. 307. 


The eagle feathers are the most dear of all objects to an 
Indian^s heart, so in Eastern California he digs himself a little 
pit and gets into it, having first put over it a covering of 
brush, and on this a dead rabbit or some toothsome bait. 
The eagle lights down, and before it can gather up its 
powers to fly away, is dragged through the brush and its 
heart crushed between the hunter^s knees. 

These two methods of taking the eagle involve the same 
principle, namely, that of an unseen hand grasping the foot 
of the bird at the moment of absolute rest between lighting 
and soaring again. This should be compared with the use 
of bird-lime before mentioned. 

The ancient inhabitants of Copan caught the quetzal bird 
in snares, and after having plucked out their beautiful tails 
set them at liberty again. To kill them was a crime 
punishable by law.^ 

This custom, as well as that of the Hawaiians, is a step 
towards domestication. It belongs to the same series as 
the gathering of rubber or maple sugar from the natural 
trees, and is one grade upward above the destroying the gifts 
of nature irrevocably in the first use of them. 

A curious example of capture by noose is one in which 
Wallace describes a duel between a Bouru man and an 
immense serpent which had invaded the house of the 
naturalist in Amboyna. The brute was about twelve feet 
long, and capable oiF swallowing a dog or a child. The man 
made a strong noose of rattan, and with a long pole in the 
other hand poked at the snake, who began to uncoil itself. 
The man then slipped the noose over the snake^s head, and 
dragged it from the roof ; then catching the snake by the 
tail he rushed from the house, and running quickly, dashed 
its head with a swing against a tree.^ 

The Dyaks ensnare deer in a kind of compound noose or 
land trawl. It is a long cane cable with a continuous series 

* Morelet, Trav, in Cent, Am,y New York, 187 1, p. 335, quoting 
Herrera, Dec. iii., 1.x., c. ii. 
» Wallace, Malay Archipel^ New York, 1869, p. 303, plate op. p. 304, 


of cane loops or nooses depending from it. This trawl is 
stretched across a narrow neck of land, and upheld so as to 
intercept the deer making a stampede into the bush. The 
hunting party then divides, some to frighten the animals 
toward the jarteng^ as it is called, and others to despatch 
them as soon as they are caught.^ 

The reader should mark this example of borrowing 
between arts as a stage of invention. There is not, perhaps, 
a savage or civilised people on the earth that does not use 
the trawl in fishing. Well does the author remember old 
uncle William^s " trot-line " in Virginia, in the days of 
slavery. Whether he brought it from Africa, no one can 
tell. But he used to stretch a clothes line across the creek 
at sundown, with a great many hooks dangling from it 
into the water to which he had tied chicken gizzards and 
other tit-bits from the kitchen. In the morning, before 
" sun-up," uncle William could be seen coming up the 
hill with a basket of cat-fish for missus. But the Dyaks, 
watching the fishermen, have carried the art over to their 
land activities and set ^' trot lines " for deer, substituting 
nooses for hooks. 

The universal spring is also in use among these people, 
who have excellent material not only in the bamboo, for 
they also manufacture fine and strong twine from the inner 
bark of several kinds of trees.^ After man-power, spring- 
power comes second in the list of natural forces to serve 
our race. 

The Congos have an ingenious contrivance for catching 
wild buffalo. A stout stick, one metre long, is strung as a 
bow with a double cord ; a stick inserted between the parts 
of this double cord is turned several times to increase the 
tension, and the farther end then catches on the bow, as in 
the old-fashioned device for tightening a wood-saw. This is 
planted in the track of the animal, which thrusts its foot 
between bow and cord, the recoil throwing the bow 

* Ling Roth,y. Anthrop, Inst,^ London, 1892, vol. xxii. p. 47. 
' Ibid^^ vol. xxii. p. 47. 


upward.' It is a little difficult to see what advantage such 
a device has over the common noose. 

All savages are expert in the use of decoys and lures. 
They know exactly the dainty things each animal likes best, 
and have gone so far as to cut from pearl shell and stone 
and bone forms that deceive the very elect. They can 
imitate the peculiar whistling sound of the deer, the linnet 
and other birds. Even odours known to be pleasing to 
certain animals are faithfully reproduced. For every swim- 
ming bird forms are created that cannot be distinguished 
from the original. Each duck has its separate decoy, and 
frequently the savage donned the hide of the animal pur- 
sued. The modern hunter, with his wooden plovers and 
tin ducks, is only borrowing from the ancients. 

In one of their myths called the Mountain Chant, the 
Navajo speak of dead-fall traps set at night near the 
burrows of small animals, such as rats and prairie dogs. 
For each trap they buried a flat stone with its upper side on 
a level with the surface of the ground, and on this they 
sprinkled a little earth, so that the rat would suspect 
nothing ; over this they placed another flat stone leaning 
at an angle and supported by a slender stick, to which were 
attached berries of the aromatic sumach as a bait. The 
author does not say, but it is evident that the creature, in 
gnawing the bait, either disturbed the prop or gnawed it in 
two, and thus was crushed.'' 

The old Navajo in the Chant tells his two sons how to 
make a decoy for deer. Cut the skin around the neck ; 
then carefully take the skin from the head, so as to remove 
the horns, ears, and all other parts, without tearing any 
part. Leave such an amount of flesh with the nose and 
lips that they will not shrivel and lose their shape when 
dry. They prepared the skin according to the old man's 
directions. To keep the skin of the neck open they put 
into it a wooden hoop. They sewed up the mouth, left the 

' Schweinfurth, Artes Africanae, London, 187 1, plate v. fig. 12. 
* Matthews, Fifth Aft, Rep, Bur, Ethnol.<t pp. 388, 390. 


eye-holes open, stuffed the skin with hay, and hung it in 
a tree to dry, where it would get smoky and dusty. They 
cut places in the neck through which the hunter might see. 
The skin of a doe which the younger brother had killed 
they painted red to make it look like the skin of an 
antelope. They prepared two short sticks to enable the 
hunter to move with ease and hold the head (decoy) at the 
proper height when he crept in disguise on the deer. 
During four days the elder brother practised imitating the 
walk of the game.' 

Sound decoys are found among all hunting peoples. The 
North American Indians imitated the partridge, the turkey, 
the deer, the crow exactly. Among the frontier hunters 
are men who so cleverly mock all the wild creatures as to 
deceive even the oldest. 

Morelet tells of one of his companions who could reproduce 
to perfection the plaintive voice of the couroucou (quetzal 
bird), " a talent possessed in a greater or less degree by all 
the hunters of Copan." ^ 

The Navajo seem to have connected the sweat bath with 
hunting in a practical way. Every good hunter knows that 
success depends quite as much on removing the things that 
offend as in presenting the things that allure. In the 
Navajo Mountain Chant myth, the old hunter and his 
two sons not only take four good sweats, but they lined the 
floor of the sudatory with all the plants on which the deer 
like most to browse. After the sweat they cleansed even 
their hair with soap rood, and had good success both with 
their traps and with their bows.3 

The old beaver trappers had many wonderful stories to 
tell of their experiences, but the secret revolves itself into 
anticipation rather than treachery. The Indians knew that 

* Matthews, Fifth Atu Rep* Bur. EthtoL, P* 391* For Eskimo sound 
decoys, see Murdoch, Ninth An, Rep, Bur, EthtioLy Washington, 1892, 
P- 253. 

' Trav, in Cent, Am,^ New York, 187 1, p. 338. 

3 Matthews, Fifth An, Rep, Bur, Eihnol,, p. 389. 


the beaver makes for deep water when he is caught, so he 
fastened a heavy stone to the trap, which held the creature 
under the water until it was drowned. The hunter also knew 
that the beaver would amputate its leg when it found it- 
self caught, so he must provide for that. Their objection to 
the smell of anything human is also strong, so the most 
aromatic substances were mixed with castor to sink the 
stronger into the weaker scent. The savages frequently 
made a co-operative onslaught upon a village, anticipated 
this plunging into the stream by rows of stakes driven 
close together, and killed the beaver trying to make its 

To catch a fox it is necessary first to win its confidence, 
and this the savage knows. So he prepares a trap that is 
perfectly harmless, and lets Reynard walk about over the 
ashes or fresh earth or chaff, picking up dainty bits until all 
sense of treachery is removed. Now is the time to conceal 
the trap. But all vestige of human hand or foot must be 
removed, and the apparatus must be cleaned and smoked 
most effectually. There can be no doubt that the fox has 
become more wary even in modern times ; but, while the 
wolf has surrendered to domestication, the fox continues 
his original warfare on human rights until his name is a 
synonym for untamable cunning. 

Even the sports and pastimes of animals were taken 
advantage of to secure their capture. For example, the 
land otter travel over the snow chiefly by sliding. " They 
seek a steep place by the water side, crawl to the top of it, 
and then face about and go head first into the water. Then 
up they climb and at it again, having great sport. One of 
these slides is the best place to catch otter." ' The trap is set 
immediately at the bottom, and the happy creature rushes 
headlong into self-slaughter. 

In addition to the transfer of devices from one branch of 
any craft to another, and the acknowledgment of such 
a transfer to be a true invention, there are still further 

' Thrasher, Zrww/^r flW Trapper, New York, 1868, Judd, p. 28. 

CApTORE and bOMlilStlCAtlON OF ANIMALS. 3t3 

adaptations. Many of the devices used in other crafts have 
undergone special modifications with a view to hunting and 

The snow shoe, the harness of animals, boats of many 
kinds, designed for travel and transportation, were among 
primitive tribes used more by hunters and fishers than by 
all other persons combined, and were constructed to meet 
their wants. In our own day there is a very large class of 
boats with no other function than for fishing. The kaiak, 
the birch-bark canoes, the great dug-outs and other sea 
craft, piroques, bark boats, balsas, catamarans, proas, were 
primarily for reaping the harvests of the sea. Everything 
about the boat has been similarly modified, except perhaps 
the anchor. The bow becomes a spear thrower ; the spear, 
a harpoon ; the arrow, a retriever. The same is true in 
land hunting. House, clothing, apparatus must all conform 
to the absorbing occupations. Even the customs and laws 
were changed. 

The hunting and capturing and domesticating of wild 
animals, specially those that go in droves, led in most 
primitive tribes to the laws of game and the declaration of 
the rights of owners. It seems to have been universally 
agreed upon that the man who first made his mark upon an 
animal was its owner. Mr. Gushing says that whoever after- 
wards killed the creature was obliged to bring it to its 
owner, and received his share of game from the man whose 
mark it bore. The same testimony is borne by Bourke, 
Dodge, and others who are familiar with the usages of 

Among the Waboni, on the river Tana, East Africa, the 
etiquette of hunting is strictly observed : thus, if a dead 
elephant is found by a hunter other than the one who 
wounded it in the first instance, the owner is identified. 

It is certain that law was developed in two ways. about 
the question of animal capture, namely, in the direction of 
boundaries showing where each tribe might hunt, and about 
the game itself, declaring to whom it belonged. At this 


same point some curious solutions of anatomy were made. 
When two or three men struck the same animal, there 
were laws which decided which part of the body entitled to 
ownership, and these were not based on our knowledge, 
but upon the savages' notions of vulnerability and totemic 
precedence. Ken nan, in Tent Life^ calls attention to the 
anatomical lore of the Koraks. 

The employment of cunning in place of brute force in the 
taking of animals alive soon led to the rudiments of domesti- 
cation. There will always be persons who prefer wild 
strawberries to cultivated ones, a "high'' snipe to spring 
chicken, and wild boar to Westphalia ham. Though the 
argument might be yielded to, it would do its advocates 
little good. Wild strawberries are almost extinct, snipe are 
already higher in price than they are in flavour, and, as for 
the ** boar-sticker," that has been hung up with bric-a-brac 
for a century. There are no longer " as good fish in the sea 
as were ever caught out of it," unless we include those that 
are artificially propagated. 

Darwin, in speaking of the part man has taken in the 
domestication of animals, adds to the natural selection upon 
which he dwells : i. Unconscious Selection^ following from 
men naturally preserving the most valued and destroying 
the least valued individuals, without any thought of 
altering the breed. 2. Methodical Selection^ or that which 
guides a man who systematically endeavours to modify a 
breed according to some predetermined standard. Un- 
conscious selection graduates into methodical and only 
extreme cases can be distinctly separated.* The same 
observation might be made regarding invention through- 
out every line of its life history. He further admits that he 
had fallen into the current belief as to the stupidity of 
savagery. " It appeared to me at one time probable that 
although ancient and semi-civilised people might have 
attended to the improvement of their more useful animals 
in essential points, yet that they would have disregarded 

* Variation of Animals and Plant s^ New York, 1876, vol. ii. p. \^^• 


unimportant characters. But human nature is the same 
throughout the world : fashion everywhere reigns supreme, 
and man is apt to value whatever he may chance to 
possess." ' A long list of examples is given by the dis- 
tinguished naturalist, which must be omitted for want of 

That Darwin's unconscious selection has been going 
on in savagery from the earliest period there has been 
abundant evidence. As in the case of plants, so every 
animal had to pass an examination. It is not for one 
moment to be supposed that by an act of inspiration the 
first men guessed that the dog, the cat, the horse, the cow, 
the sheep, the goat, the ass, the camel, the elephant, the hog, 
the llama would be useful to them. Nor is it supposable that 
these creatures came and offered their services in his naked 
and helpless condition. 

That is a very interesting panorama hinted at in Genesis, 
where all the wild animals came trooping by to see what 
Adam would name them. Only I think the procession 
must be strung out over many lands and must occupy 
many, many centuries in the passing. Even now the 
species have not all reported to get their binomial Greek 
and Latin names, and the lists have frequently changed. 
Nevertheless, before a page of history was written, repre- 
sentatives of most of the families of vertebrates, and a great 
number of species of invertebrates were familiarly known 
and named by their recognised characteristics, and these 
have come to be useful. 

In the lowest savagery animals were killed or taken for 
immediate use. They were slain in the capture or they 
were taken to be slain. But in higher savagery the young 
of animals were spared and brought to the habitation for 
children to play with, to furnish plumage or fur for their 
elders to use in decorating themselves, and for the regalia of 
their civil and religious and military festivals. The question 

* Variation of Animals^ iSr't., under Domestication, New York, 1 876, 
vol. ii. p. 193. 


of economy obtrudes itself : how to get the best results with 
the least effort. There is no doubt, also, that many animals 
learned that they were safer under the protection of man 
than they were in the wilds. 

The author is delighted to quote from Mr. Gushing on 
this point. "Both Navajo and Pueblo, but especially 
the latter, practise domestication. They capture young 
hawks and other birds — ducks and mocking birds among 
them — and by tethering them with strings keep and 
ultimately succeed in taming them. They prefer fierce 
animals like the hawks and, among quadrupeds, wild 
cats, because they are more easily captured, being less 
timid, and are hardier, enduring the extremely unfavour- 
able conditions of their captivity better than the gentler 
creatures. They also like their voices better and their 
characters, as being more independent. Even porcupines 
are sometimes brought in, but only the badgers ever live 
long. The prairie dogs die of continued fright and starva- 
tion. The porcupines sooner or later prick and enrage their 
over familiar master, getting killed in consequence." Fright, 
starvation, bristling quills — too much for the youthful 
apostle of domestication. His wild pedagogy has been a 
wonderful selector, and so has the same school in all ages 
and all places extinguished or subdued the animal kingdom. 
The eagle, however, has another use not mentioned above. 
Its feathers are most precious appendages to the ceremonial 

"The moose are also easiest to tame and domesticate 
of any of the deer kind. I have repeatedly seen them at 
Churchill as tame as sheep, and even more so ; for they 
would follow their keeper any distance from home, and at 
his call return with him, without the least trouble or ever 
offering to deviate from the path."' 

Any American boy who has lived on the frontier knows 
that partridges, wild turkeys, crows, deer, foxes, ^coons, 
buffaloes, and many other wild species will become tame in 

* llearne, fourncy^ «2r^., London, 1795, Strahan, p. 257. 


a single generation, and some of them will breed in confine- 
ment. The author was never without some of these pets 
when he was a boy. 

" The Campas of Peru possess a great number of tamed 
animals — paroquets, ourax, several species of penelopes, 
monkeys, ronsocos (capyhara\ and even wild boars and 
tapirs ; and it is curious to see the mistress of the lodge 
when she goes, for example, to draw water from the river. 
If their presence around the habitation attracts at times the 
puma and the tigrillo, they destroy numbers of insects and 
small vermin infinitely more dangerous to man than the 
animals of the mountains. Their devotion to their masters is 
the more solid because it is voluntary and nothing prevents 
their regaining their liberty. The Campas do not eat the 
animals thus domesticated ; on the contrary, it is not rare 
to see a savage woman give her breast in turn to her child 
and to a young monkey." ' 

The opinion that the leading domestic animals came 
under man's control in prehistoric times is confirmed by 
Ogilby's observations on the sheep, dog, goat, &c. Ovis 
brachyura is the characteristic variety of the Ugrian race ; 
Ovts dolichura the appropriate breed of the Indo-Ger manic 
nations ; Ovis platyura is the favourite of the Semitic 
peoples ; Ovis steatopygia was the original breed of Mon- 
golic nations ; and Ovis longicauda still continues the 
peculiar variety of the dark-skinned races of Asia and 
Africa.2 But these are only varieties of a species that paid 
its fleece and flesh and milk as tribute to primitive man. 

The domestication of the dog furnishes a typical example 
of the manner in which the process has gone on from 
unconscious to conscious selection in the taming of animals. 
It also is a refutation of those who have no good word for 
savage peoples. 

The wolf is an uncanny creature, said to be bloodthirsty, 
remorseless, and deceitful. Not only so, but it practises 

' Ollivier Ordinaire, Rev, (TEtJmog.^ 1887, vol. vi. p. 282. 
^ Rep, BriL Assoc., 1857, pt. ii., p. 105. 


co-operative murder, bringing down the stoutest mammals 
by mere numbers. But all the beauty, all the faithfulness, 
all the versatility of modern dogs were locked up in the 
wolf as in a mine of precious ore. These fine qualities 
were gradually bred out from the wolf, not bred into him. 
From one point of view they are indeed human productions, 
human inventions, just as much as the delicious music of 
the violin is a product of human genius. The qualities of 
men are mirrored in their dogs. All that the dog has and 
is it owes to man. In its natural state the wolf is the 
picture and synonym of what is rapacious in man. The 
latter has not learned a single virtue from the former ; on 
the contrary, man has given no higher testimonial of his 
talent than the creation of such a noble animal as the dog 
from wolfish material. 

The Eskimo in our day have preserved one of the first 
lessons taught the wolves. They take a sharp bit of flint 
or a knife-blade procured from the whalers, and fasten it to 
a stake or a rock and cover it with fat, which soon freezes 
into a ball. The incautious and hungry wolf, discovering 
the dainty morsel, laps the fat with its tongue until the 
sharp blade slices the latter and brings the blood. The 
taste of blood excites and infuriates the wolf, which only 
laps the more vigorously and commits accelerated suicide. 
The smell of blood and the taste thereof communicates 
the madness to the pack, and if at that moment all the 
wolves in the world could be gathered, they would be piled 
into a monument of mutual carnage. There is no profit in 
contending against such odds. The wolf is now superstitious. 

The first day or two spent by Lupus in the human school 
must have been anything but sunshine to his soul. Hitherto 
he had been taken for his fiir alone. Hunger on his part 
drove him to put his head into a noose or under a weighted 
log, or to move the treacherous trigger that released a stone 
dagger to brain him.' 

' Boas, Sixth An. Rep, Bur. Ethnol.^ Washington, 1885, p. 510, quoting 
Klutschak, AU Eskimo^ «SrV., Wien, 1881, p. 192. 


In this primary grade, however, the wolf learned 
thoroughly the first lesson in domestication — the con- 
viction of a mysterious force, the sense of having been 
overpowered, the ineradicable memory of a hopeless 
struggle. The wolf^s head being larger than its neck 
enables its preceptor to put a collar thereon and a tether to 
that, against which the pupil might protest in vain. . Fear 
also, created by the infliction of bodily pain which the 
creature could not escape nor revenge, completed the 
enslavement of the wolf. 

All animals are tamed or broken in the same fashion. 
The author was reared on a large stock farm, and is witness 
to the fact that the subduing of the most incorrigible 
stallion or bull is first psychological. The animal is 
** cinched,'^ as it used to be called — that is, it is rendered 
powerless. The method of breaking elephants in the East 
is well known. The celebrated flea-tamer puts the frisky 
creatures into a metal pill-box on the end of a spindle, and 
whirls it by means of a bow drill. When the box is opened 
the fleas are as docile as tortoises, and, on his testimony, 
they never hop again. 

The next step in this lycotechny is the result of a dis- 
covery that even the native and wild instincts and habits of 
the wolf may be helpful to its captor. It howls at night in 
recognition of the approach of other wolves or wild beasts, 
or of man. Its refined olfactory sense discovers the sources 
of food unperceived by the hunter. Its fleetness enables it 
to run down the wounded game, which it is allowed to 
share with its master. It may be that in close quarters its 
canine teeth deliver him from an ugly foe. 

One day the tired hunter discovered that on the snow the 
wolf-dog could pull, and that its back could bear a burden. 
The proverb, **to work like a dog," must have arisen in that 
period of history. 

In Southern Canada and along the northern border of the 
United States a broad collar is put around the dog^s neck, 
a girth around its body, and these are united along the 


shoulders by two straps. The dog is in a harness which 
allows perfect movement of every muscle, and yet it cannot 
extricate itself. Two poles are lashed to this harness, one 
on either side, and tied together at the upper ends, while 
the other ends trail behind the dog on the ground. Upon 
this primitive " wheelbarrow *' or cart without wheels, called 
travois, a load of fifty pounds is lashed. In the same region 
a pack regularly made up is laid upon the back of the dog. 
Along the Arctic strip of North America and in North-east 
Asia, among the Eskimo and the Indians, dogs are harnessed 
to sledges. The amount of thought and forethought dis- 
played in the sledge, the harness, the training and care for 
the animals, does great credit to the thinking powers of 
these savages. 

Some of the Canadian dogs at the beginning of the 
winter, when fresh at their work for the season, are exceed- 
ingly restive under coercion of any description, and not 
infrequently snap at their masters, who invariably arm 
themselves with very strong mittens of buffalo or deer hide 
when harnessing a savage and powerful animal. The dogs 
require long-continued and most severe punishment to make 
them obedient to the word of command.* 

The dog has never been able to emancipate itself from this 
simple but effective harness. The history of its activity 
must include all the tread-mills upon whose "climbing 
sorrow '^ dogs have been compelled to walk. In the most 
learned nation of the earth it is possible to see these crea- 
tures by hundreds harnessed with women, as they have been 
from the beginning dragging food for the militant class to 
eat. In Belgium and France also the same sights will 
greet the eye under the shadow of the grandest structures 
in the world. 

The barbarous races have always welcomed the services of 
the dog in the care of their flocks. The shepherd^s dog is a 
marvel of breeding and training. If the reader will watch a 

' Hind, Canadian Red River, <Sr»r., London, i860, Longman, vol. ii. p. 
93. Consult Lubbock, Prehistoric Times, New York, 1872, p. 557. 


flock of sheep conducted through the thoroughfares of 
London by one of these creatures, he will scarcely be able to 
realise what the ancestor of the dog would have done with 
these same sheep many generations back. 

The oldest books in Chinese, Egyptian, Indian, and the 
Mesopotamian languages mention dogs already bred and edu- 
cated, if we may say so, out of savagery into a high canine 
civilisation. Revoil believes that the hunting instincts of the 
wild dog still survive in the hound, indeed, have not been 
allowed to die out, and that the great ferocity exhibited in 
the chase would seem a temporary recurrence to savage life 
and habits.^ 

The variety of acquirements among the earlier mentioned 
trained dogs is truly surprising, and confirms the suggestion 
made more than once in this book, that a multitude of the 
stage settings for the drama of human progress were prepared 
before the curtain rose upon written history. 

Xenophon^s Kynegetiktis is the oldest known book upon 
the domesticated dog. Says Rossignol, " Among the Greeks 
different races of dogs were employed for different kinds of 
game. For hares, Castorians and fox-hounds were used ; 
for stag hunting, Indian hounds ; for the wild boar, Indian, 
Cretan, Locrian, and Laconian hounds. Chief attention is 
given to the coursing of hares. They were not to catch the 
hare, but to drive it into nets set at certain places. The 
best dogs are those with a light head and blunt muzzle, pro- 
minent black shining eyes, broad forehead ; long, flexible, 
roynd neck, broad chest, straight elbows. They must be 
strong, well-proportioned, swift of foot, and above all they 
must be keen scented." * Then follows a number of direc- 
tions for feeding, for young dogs, and for the making of 

* Revoil, HisL Physiologique et Antcdotique des Chiens, Paris, 1867, 
p. 394, quoted by Rossignol. 

* For an elaborate study on the subject consult Rossignol, ** The 
Training of Animals. A. — Dc^s,** Am. J, of Psychology, Worcester, Mass., 
1892, vol. V. pp. 205-13. Reviews of Works on Dogs in Professor Brewer's 



" Cat and dog " are synonyms of antagonism. The cat 
is a tiger in blood and at heart. The dog is man's friend, 
chiefly ; but the cat is woman's friend. The latter was 
invented much later in history ; that is, the useful functions 
of the cat were developed after those of the dog. 

The cat was the defender of the hoard, the house, the 
granary, against rats and mice and other vermin, against 
snakes and lizards and other reptiles. It never seized nor 
retrieved, nor brought home aught for man to eat. In India 
the cheeta or hunting leopard springs upon prey, but it still 
insists on devouring the game after the manner of the cat. 

So, the myth relates that when in the war with Typhon 
the gods fled to Egypt and were metamorphosed into 
animals, the goddess of hunting, Diana, was changed into 
a cat.^ The universal esteem in which Pasht or Bubastis 
was held in Egypt, pre-eminently the granary of the ancient 
world, is only another example of the good people of this 
world who have gone to live in the sky. Since in historic 
times the cat, in both a wild and a domestic state, has 
always been known in China, India, Egypt, and Greece, its 
first treaty of peace and amity with man goes back to those 
prehistoric times when men first began to lay up grain-stores 
for the future. 

Any other one of our domestic animals would furnish an 
equally good example of the evolution of the art of domesti- 
cation. The steps are in every case easy to follow. The first 
act is a kind of compromise or covenant ; the second is an 
enslavement of the weaker minded ; the third is a mutual 
improvement, each refining and becoming refined ; the last is 
conscious breeding on the part of man, by which he creates, 
as it were, new species or varieties for a thousand uses and 

The domestication of the bee and the silkworm are 
marvels of human ingenuity. The bee-hunter has always 
a charm to readers of books of travels. In the days of 
slavery in the Southern States there was a class of " poor 

* DxxxeaUi Ann, d, Sc. NaL^ Paris, 1829, Crochard, vol. xvii. pp. 159-92. 


whites " who eked out a living by finding bee-trees in the 
forests. The Africans hollow out a log, rub it with aromatic 
herbs, and hang it in a tree near the wild bees* nests. To 
unhook this log with its bees and honey and hang it in a 
tree nearer home is the work of a moment, and the thing is 

In Palestine the owners frequently remove their hives of 
bees up into the loftiest mountains as the flowers disappear 
from the lower regions, and put them in the woods, that the 
bees may gather honey from mountain thyme and other 
plants that bloom in autumn on those cool heights. The 
hives are made of plaited basket-work, formed with long, 
hollow cylinders, and are easily transported on the backs of 
mules and donkeys. The cylinders are piled up in the 
woods in a sort of pyramid, and covered with an old mat.' 

The domestication of the silkworm in China was pre- 
historic. ** In the grounds of the Imperial Palace at Peking 
is an altar forty feet in circuit and four feet in height, sur- 
rounded by a wall and also a temple. This is the * Early 
Silkworms Altar,' in the vicinity of which a plantation of 
mulberry-trees and a cocoonery are maintained. It is dedi- 
cated to Yuenfei, First Wife, in her quality of the discoverer 
of silkworms, and annually in April the Empress worships 
and sacrifices to her." 3 

The latest modern efforts to change from the natural 
supply to an artificial basis of food through intentional 
selection and propagation is in the case of fishes and other 
aquatic products. The most primitive fishermen doubtless 
ate their spoils on the spot. But the savage fish-hook 
without barbs, and the traps and weirs and nets, could not 
be long in suggesting that the meal might be taken at the 
pleasure of the captor. So, fish-preserves, and, finally, fish- 
ponds are of very early date. 

In Polynesian fish-ponds a circular space about ten feet 

* See Livingstone, 7 ravels ^ k^c, New York, 1858, p. 307.. 

* Thomson, The Land and the Book, New York, 1880, vol. i. p. 225. 
3 Lacouperie, The Silk- Goddess, London, 189 1, Nult, p* 3. 

324 The origins ok invention. 

in diameter is enclosed with a stone wall built up from the 
bottom of a lake to the edge of the water. A small opening 
is left in the upper part of the wall, on the side away from 
the sea, and from each end of this a wall of stone extends, 
the two diverging as wings of a net. In this manner the 
creatures are intercepted on their return to the sea. Fish 
are usually found in these ponds, and they are excellent 
preserves, in which the animals are kept until they are 
wanted. Ellis describes a fish-pond in Tamehameha not less 
than two miles in circumference.' 

Eels were a favourite fish with the Tahitians, and were 
often tamed and fed until they attained an enormous size. 
The pets were kept in large holes, two or three feet deep, 
partially filled with water. On the sides of these pits the 
eels formed or found an aperture in an horizontal direction, 
in which they generally remained. Ellis mentions a young 
chief who would give a shrill whistle near one of the holes, 
and bring forth an enormous eel, which moved about the 
surface of the water and ate out of its master's hand." 

The climax of this industry is the modern patent fish-jar, 
holding a gallon, and hatching a hundred thousand young 
at a time. 

' Ellis, Polyiies. Researches, Lon<loii, vol. i. p. 138; vol. iv. p. 407. 
Turner, Samoa, London, 1884, p. agS. 
" Ellis, Palynes. Researches, vol. i. p. 76. 



" Look at the character of our country. Crete is not like Thessaly, a 
large plain, and for this reason they have horses there and we have runners 
afoot here. The inequality of the ground in our country is more adapted 
to locomotion afoot." — Plato, Laws, 

Atlas and the Caryatides were men and women who went 
long ago to live in the skies and in the dreams of artists and 
architects. They once dwelt upon the earth, however, not 
as individuals, perhaps, but as a class of whom the artistic 
and the mythic types are only composite photographs. 

Any day, in London or New York or Dresden or Singa- 
pore or Mexico, their descendants may be seen bowing under 
great burdens as of old — men carrying them upon their 
backs, women poising them upon their heads chiefly. In 
many other places these burden- bearers share with freighted 
ships and trains and beasts of burden the loads of com- 
merce ; but it was not so from the beginning. j^The 
commerce of the world was borne at first only on the backs 
of human beings. The loads were not great, the distances 
travelled were short, and the carrying industry was confined 
principally to the food-quest. 

Even in those early days, conveyance was both by land 
and by water, and it was prosecuted for the double purpose 
of getting about personally and for the bearing of burdens. 
The former was the beginning of what is now called travel ; 
the latter, of transportation. The vestibule train and the 



fast freight train, the passenger steamer and the merchant 
marine, are the modern representatives of those primitive 
methods of moving persons and things. 

The interesting problem h to find out how the one 
became the other throughout the world, and how the more 
ancient methods survive into the modern time. To any 
thoughtful student, such immense and costly assemblages 
of riding and carrying devices as may ha seen in a great 
exhibition are stimulating. So many of them are only of 

yesterday, and yet all of them are a sort of metric scale 
or indicator to show how far man's genius had gone in 
that particular year in shortening distances and lightening 
burdens', ,. 

In the life of primitive society the carr3ing of adult 
human beings must have been confined to the dead, the 
sick, or the wounded, or to the bearing of persons in 
authority. At any rate, in our own day, among the 
precipitous trails in the mountainous region of South 


America, the silleteros take each a man on his back in 
a rude hod or chair and carry him ten miles a day.* 

But the more primitive inventions, antedating these rude 
frames on which one man bears another, were devices which 
would enable the man himself to get about more rapidly. 
The exigency was never too great. Foot-gear and ac- 
cessories to walking, running, or climbing were devised for 
the occasion. By this means the man became passenger 
in a coach which he himself compelled. Cold or heat, 
mountain or plain, open sward or volcanic slag or thorny 
undergrowth, only stimulated the germ of ingenuity, and 
gave the greater variety to what else would have been 
barefooted monotony. 

Where the cold was intense, and the snow compact, the 
Eskimo walked on a snowshoe in which a few coarse meshes 
were sufficient, and he also, as well as the Laplander, the 
Finn, and the Ghiliak, put a cunning little snowshoe on the 
bottom of his cane.* The increasing size of the snowshoe 
and fineness of the mesh were governed by the temperature, 
coming southward, with the greatest fidelity, until the tier 
of states south of Canada were reached, and there they dis- 
appeared. Only in the elevated portions of California are 
they elsewhere found. In the northern regions of Europe and 
Asia the coarse snowshoe and the Norwegian skee prevail. 
But neither in Russia nor in Siberia could be found a finely 
meshed variety similar to those of Canada or interior Alaska. 
The reason is plain. Each snow-bound area where men 
dwelt at all, dictated the style of snowshoe to use. 

The study of aids to locomotion is more interesting if we 
commence in the tropical regions and follow the evolution 
of the shoe northward. 

Tropical men were practically barefooted. They wore in 

* Columbus mentions the carrying of a cacique in his \\iitx, Journals , <SrV., 
HakUiyt, London, 1893, ^o^* Ixxxvi. p. 119. 

- Excellent chapter on the construction of the snowshoe, by Murdoch, in 
Ninth An. Rep, Bur, EthnoL, Washington, 1892, 344-52, 4 figs. ; also 
von Schrenk, op, cif^ 


some places strips of raw hide the shape of the foot, and 
fastened thereto by thongs. The sandal came up from the 
Bouth. In other warm regions the raw hide was replaced 
with a coarsely woven sandal made of the toughest and most 
available fibre of the country — perhaps of yucca filaments 
as in Mexico, or of palm fibre as in other lands. Each 
culture area provided an excellent sub- 
stance, which Necessity was not long in 

The most primitive of foot-gear is 
found among the Indians of Guiana. 
This is a pair of sandals cut from the 
leaf-stalk of the aeta palm {Mattritia 
flexuosa), which is worn on very stony 
parts of the Savannah to protect the 
feet. The string which keeps the sandal 
on the foot passes between the great toe 
and the next, and when these foot 
coverings are much worn, the flesh be- 
tween the two toes becomes callous. A 
very few hours' use wears out the 
sandals, but this does not much matter, 
for a new pair can be cut from the 
nearest aeta palm, and can be ready for 
use in a few minutes. They are made 
to the measure of the foot as carefully 
as though they were done by European 

Starting from this southland, where 
the burning or rough earth has suggested 
to the traveller the advisability of clothing the soles of his 
feet, one may hear the environment whispering new sug- 
gestions in his ear at every degree northward. 

In the desert, among venomous creatures, man dons rude 

leggings. Among the thorns and cactus the foot was 

povered, the moccjsin was invented, and even a. long toe 

' )in Tlium, Indians of British Guiana, I^ondon, i88j, p, 195. 


was turned up, like the front of a snowshoe, to tread down 
the thorns. The Apache Indians, roving in the deserts of 
Arizona, were known by the style of this foot-gear. The 

of the Topboot, Hupa Indians, California. 

covered sandal or shoe was also a helper against the cold. 
In the temperate zone of both continents and both hemi- 
spheres the shoe in some form came early to be prevalent- 


But in the regions of the north the sandal, the moccasin, 
the gaiter, the buskin, and the legging were all securely 
sewed together into the boot. 

This formidable foot-wear, whatever the chasseur may 
say to the contrary, was invented in the north — at least, in 
subarctic climes. Furthermore, the Samoyede, as well as 
the Eskimo, was persuaded by dame Nature to add a sock 
of soft grass, into which he thrusts his foot before donning 
his boots for a long journey. And so our modern foot-gear 
has required all climes and all ages of the world for its 
invention. Between the barefooted man and the booted 
Hyperborean there is a great difference of speed and en- 
durance. The shoes and boots were the winged sandals 
of Hermes in the early days of travel. 

In other articles of clothing it is not always certain 
whether the idea of utility or that of adornment was first ; 
but there is no doubt that men protected their feet before 
they thought of decorating them. 

The alpenstock and the gold-headed cane of the alderman 
are survivals of a useful accessory in travelling and trans- 
portation. Omitting the pilgrim^s staff of mediaeval times 
as being a little too far along for this inquiry, it is but just 
to observe that its ancestors were most serviceable members 
of society. The cargadores of Mexico, and all the burden - 
bearing tribe of Latin America, together with the noble 
army of coolies, everywhere carry staves for a multitude of 
purposes. The Pima Indian of Southern California has a 
notch or a fork on the top of his staff, which he may use 
at will as a rest for his carrying net-basket. The survival 
of this may be seen in the single leg of the organ-grinder^s 
apparatus or in the coolie^s staff, serving now as a cane, 
now as a rest for his load, and anon as a weapon, defensive 
against dogs or men. It must have been with some such 
thought in his mind that the Psalmist wrote, " Thy rod 
and thy staff they comfort me,'* serving the double purpose 
of supporting his flagging body and warding off his savage 


Reference might also be made to stilts, which are by no 
means confined to the amusement of children, nor yet to 
the French shepherds, but may be seen in savagery as well. 
The Polynesians made stilts of very beautiful patterns. 

Travelling upward, in the house life or along declivities 
and in steep places, stimulated the invention of steps cut 
from a log, ladders of rope or bamboo or wood. The Pueblo 
tribes, for safety against the roving Indians in the neigh- 
bourhood, had studied out the problem of security. Living 
in fastnesses of the canons, or in adobe houses on the mesas 
and the plains, they rendered themselves secure by ascend- 
ing to their homes on ladders and drawing these up after 
them. Here they defied both assault and fire. 

** The road to Peten," says Morelet, ** was interrupted 
by almost vertical descents, impassable for mules, and only 
ascended and descended by pedestrians, through the aid of 
rude ladders, formed of the notched trunks of trees placed 
against the rocks." ^ The inclined plane was mentioned in 
a previous chapter as a mechanical device for raising heavy 
objects. It was thoroughly studied out in the trails and 
mountain passes that cover the elevated portions of the 
earth like a network, and led up no doubt to later military 

The modern elevator is in reality a vertical railway for 
passengers and freight. Hoisting apparatus for freight is 
common enough, and quite old, but, before the vertical 
railway was invented, passengers had to walk up into the 
air on steps and ladders as we have seen, but climbing was 
before that. Ellis tells us that a little Polynesian boy who 
goes up for cocoanuts, " strips off a piece of bark from a 
purau branch and fastens it round his feet, leaving a space 
four or five inches between them, and then clasping the 
tree, he vaults up its trunk with greater agility and ease 
than a European could ascend a ladder to an equal eleva- 
tion. When a bunch is gathered at a time it is lowered by 
a rope ; but when the nuts are gathered singly the boys 

^ Morelet J Trav. in Cent* Am,^ New York, 1871, pp. 327, 420. 



give them a whirling motion that they may fall on the 
point." * 

The Aetas of the Philippines are prodigiously active at 
climbing trees, clasping the trunk with their hands and 
setting the soles of their feet against the trunk.' This is 
precisely the way in which men of our day mount telegraph 
poles. The rough bark of the tree, and the bare feet of the 
Philippine islander are offset on the smooth telegraph pole 
by spikes on the operator's boots. 

Anticipatory of the modern vertical lift is the device 
of the bee hunters of the island of Timor. A company 
of natives coming upon a smooth tree, without a 
branch till at seventy feet from the ground, and spying 
three large bee combs, prepared to take them. One 
of them, from the stem of a creeper, made a bush-rope 
by which to do the climbing, and proceeded to wrap his 
head and body in cloths, but left his limbs free. To his 
girdle he had attached a long coil of small rope wherewith 
to let down the honey. To one end of the bush-rope a 
wood-torch and a chopping knife were attached. " The 
bee hunter," says Wallace, ** now took hold of the bush 
rope just above the torch, and passed the other end 
round the trunk of the tree, holding one end in each hand. 
Jerking it a little above his head, he set his feet against the 
trunk and, leaning back, began walking up it." When he 
had come within a few feet of the bees he began to swing 
his torch. Arriving at the limb, he attached the small cord 
at his girdle to the comb hanging down, cut it loose with 
his chopper, and let it down to his companions, at the same 
time plying his torch. As soon as he had secured the three 
combs he retraced his steps to the ground, by means of his 

' Ellis, Polynes, Res,^ London, Bohn, vol. i. p. 57. 

' E. Best, y. Polynes, Soc, Wellington, 1892, vol. i. p. 12 ; quoting 
Geroni^re, Tiveniy Years in the Philipines, Consult also Woods, Unciv. 
Races ^ Hartford, 1870, vol. ii. p. 33, for Australian climbing. 

^ Consult Wallace, Malay ArchipeL^ New York, 1869, p. 207* 

(A«« iu Mumilc.y 



The Dyaks have a most ingenious method of ascending 
tall, smooth trees. The necessary apparatus are a number 
of sharpened bamboo pegs about a foot long, one or more 
long, slender bamboos, and cord made from the inner bark 
of a tree, all of these being prepared on the spot. " They 
now drove a peg into the tree to be ascended, about 
three feet from the ground, and bringing one of the 
long bamboos, stood it upright close to the tree, and bound 
it firmly to the two first pegs [one at the ground and 
one three feet above], by means of the bark cord. One of 
the Dyaks now stood on the first peg, and drove in a third 
about the level of his face, to which he tied the long bamboo 
in the same way, and then he mounted another step, 
standing on one foot and holding by the bamboo at the peg 
immediately above him, while he drove in the next one. In 
this manner he ascended about twenty feet, when, the 
upright bamboo becoming thin, another was handed by 
his companion, and this was joined on by tying both 
bamboo to three or four pegs.^' ^ And so on to the point 

The T'lingit Indians of Alaska ascended the tall trees, from 
which their totem post and great house logs were cut by 
a similar devicie. 

Locomotion must necessarily have been largely by water 
at first. It was the reproach of the Choctaws living on the 
Mississippi river that they could not swim. But it would 
be very difficult to find another tribe of savages devoid of 
this art. 

The Labrador Indians use little paddles to drag them- 
selves quickly through the water. The tribes on the 
borders of Mexico, in Peru, and in several localities in the 
Eastern Continent, tie bundles of reeds together as floats. 
The ancient Assyrians are represented as buoying themselves 
upon inflated goatskins. Cardinal Wolsey confessed that 
he had ventured, like wanton boys who swim on bladders, 
far beyond his depth. The breaking of his high-blown 

* Wallace, Malay Archipel.^ New York, 1869, p. 66. 



pridu ivas true, no doubt, but the bladders used as life 
preservers by boys and men are difficult to burst. 

On the Gulf of California there are tribes that lash 
two light bits of wood to a vine which they place 
against the breasts, exactly after the manner of the cork 

— Assyriiiii Warriur crussini; 

ing, the savage man solved the difficulty of going where he 

Ellis says, " Like the inhabitants of most of the islands 
of the Pacific the Tahitians are fond of the water, and 
lose all dread of it before they are old enough to know 


the danger.'^ In surf swimming they used a small board, 
on which they were accustomed to ride inward on the 
breakers. The Sandwich islanders were especially skilful 
with the swimming board, being able to sit, kneel, and 
even to stand on them when the crest of the wave 
was pushing shoreward." ^ In the sport called pakaka- 
iiahi^ the player rides the surf sitting in his canoe. The 
canoe poised on the inclined plain, in advance of the wave, 
is carried shoreward at such speed that it is possible to avoid 
broaching and being upset only by a delicate adjustment of 
forces and great skill and judgment with the paddle.=^ 

But in a chapter on the beginnings of the carrying industry 
we are most concerned with conveniences for riding and 
transportation. Here, as in other arts we are to investigate 
the construction of each apparatus, its evolution or develop- 
ment, and its geographic distribution. How much of each 
form is due to the earth, and how much to human ingenuity 
will be difficult to determine. But we are at the foundation 
of one of the four greatest of human employments — the ex- 
ploitation of the globe, the transformation of material, and 
the consumption of industrial products being the other three. 

The first coaches were the backs of savage mothers. In 
the frozen north, the Eskimo woman bears her infant about 
in the ample hood of her warm caribou or sealskin robe. 
There, both men and women are compelled to wear the 
parka or blouse, with a hood or cowl attached, and this 
they may throw back at pleasure. But the mother pro- 
vides a hood like a great bag, so large indeed that her babe 
may rest upon her shoulders and crawl about in the back of 
her bonnet, as in a miniature sleeping-car berth.3 

' Consult CoU Lane Fox, •* Early Modes of Navigation," J, Anthrop, 
Inst., London, 1875, vol. iv. pp. 399-437. 

^ See " The Long Voyages of the Ancient Hawaiians," Hawaiian Hist, 
SoCi May 18, 1893. 

3 Mason, " Cradles of the American Aborigines,** ^<f/. U^S, Nat. Afus., 
1887, pp. 161-235 ; 'blwrdochy Ninth An, Kep, Bur, EthnoL^ pp. 1 10-120, 
figs. 52, 61. 


Further south, as far as the borders of modern Mexico, 
and ill the more temperate regions of South America, the 
\ehicle in which the youthful aborigines are transported is 
called a papoose frame. The passenger is lashed to or in 
this carriage shortly after its birth, and rides about therein 
until his legs are strong enough to bear him up. 

It is an interesting study to mark 
the close relationship between this 
primitive mode of conveyance and 
the environment, and also the eflTects 
which the vehicle has had on the 
rider. In the cold precincts of 
Canada birch -bark furnishes the 
material, making a light and warm 
trough in which, embedded in soft 
furs, the young savage takes his 
ride. The climate decides both 
the material and the method, and 
there is little artificial modification 
of the body. 

On the Pacific coast of America, 
in that wonderful lumber belt which 
stretches from the Columbia river 
to Sitka, troughs of wood like tiny 
\ arks are excavated for the papoose, 
^ with bed of shredded cedar bark. 
Among not a few tribes, Chinooks 
proverbially, each passenger is fur- 

(J/itrffialy.) obliged to wear for many months 

upon his forehead, so attached to 
the sides of the cradle as to arrest the Increase of the brain 
in front and force it to grow in the region of the vertex, 
pushing the skull up in that direction like a pyramid. This 
operation is said to have made the individual took taller, 
while it did not impair his intelligence. In this instance 
also the climate selected both the material and the style of 

tra\t?:l and transportation. 337 

the cradle, which, in its turn, gave shape to the body of 
the tiny rider throughout its life. 

The Indians who treat their children thus are of several 
stocks. Besides this intentional modification of the skull, 
there is an inadvertent flattening of the occiput in all the 
tribes of America.' 

In the eastern portion of the United States, the primitive 
vehicle was a flat board or frame, with sides of raw-hide, 
profusely decorated with quill-work and feather-work, and, 
latterly, covered over solid with bead embroidery — a dainty 
coach indeed. One has only to put runners beneath it and 
increase its size in order to have the travelling sledge in 
vogue in all the countries of the domesticated reindeer and 
the harnessed dog. The modern cradle with rockers is also 
the descendant of some such device, and the old-fashioned 
hooded cradle was not unlike it in form. The effect of this 
perfectly flat and straight board is visible in the limbs and 
carriage of the Eastern Indians. 

In the Great Interior Basin of the United States and in 
California, wicker carriages were in universal fashion, many 
of them made with exquisite care. Some of them were 
built up from a hurdle-like wicker frame, perfectly straight, 
while others in form resembled the bowl of a spoon. The 
beds in these were differently constructed in accordance with 
the climate and elevation and natural resources, each region 
having its own unmistakable form. Where the same culture 
area is inhabited by more than one stock, the tribal 
characteristics are also marked like escutcheons upon the 

In one and all of these, the passenger, without being con- 
sulted, was compelled to lie on his back, to be wrapped in 
furs or blankets or mats, and to be kept secure in his place 
by being lashed therein with soft thongs or buckskin. 

In the days of unchanged savagery he was borne about on 
the back of the mother, a soft band of buckskin attached to 
the top of the apparatus passing across her forehead. Occa- 

' Porter, Rep, U. S, Nat, Mus,^ 1887, PP« 213-235. 



sionally this band was passed over the projecting knot of a 

** When the wind blows the cradle will rock, 
When the bough bends, the cradle will fall, 
Down will come l)aby and cra<lle and all — " 

necessarily, as they were securely lashed together. 

In tropical and sub-tropical portions of both continents, 
where it was as much as an infantas life was worth to ride in 
so close a vehicle, the mother infolded it in her serape or 
mantle, carrying it now on her hip, now on her back, and 
anon on her shoulders. The women of the tropics adopted 
everywhere this form of carriage. It was always a marvel 
how the tiny creatures could keep their seats in such an 
insecure vehicle. A friend of the author tells of a Mohave 
woman who came to a barrack with her child thus mounted. 
Spying a rain -barrel partly full, she threw off her serape, the 
only garment she wore, and proceeded to bathe herself, her 
infant passenger sticking to her like a young lizard to a tree. 
Indeed, in all their travelling and working the women carry 
their infants upon their persons, having a half-conscious, 
half-automatic care of them the livelong day. 

There is usually about the woman *s waist or arms or 
shoulders a band or girdle, and the prehensile instincts of 
the babes soon learn to stick to this. The apes carry their 
children in the same manner, only they do not wear a 
girdle, which is an invention. 

In the extreme southern regions of South America 
among the Araucanians, the cradle frame is similar to those 
in Eastern United States, and to the carrying frames of 
Eastern Asia ; and further south, in Tierra del Fuego, 
there is a semblance of the Eskimo custom of infantile 
transportation, though the abject natives go very much 
more naked. So, in the American continent, from one 
extremity to the other, the ingenious minds of the abo- 
rigines, who were of the same race, understood the exi- 
gencies of climate and the regional resources so well as to 



establish in their method of carrying their children an 
excellent harmony 

Throughout the African continent, in Australia, among 
the Pacific islanders in the Asiatic continent south of the 
Altai Mountains indeed in much of Furope, the carrying 

method of the Mohave woman before mentioned is kept up. 
But the little passenger attaches himself peculiarly to the 
mother's body in each region and tribe. In civilised Europe 
the child sits in front, that is, it rides on the forearm of the 
maternal beast of burden or of her substitute, the nurse. 
Mention should be made later on of tlie tiny carts and 



waggons in which the latest born of the Aryan race are 
dragged about. But it is not to be forgotten that in the 
earliest times of our species the custom of conveyance b^an 
with the transportation of infants, frequently for long dis- 
tances, on the mother's back.' 

For the better security of their babies when travelling, 
women are in the habit of hanging ronnd their necks a 
string, the ends of which have been previously fastened to 
the infant's wrists. The child is carried about in a chip, 
which is a sling or band made by women from the bark of 
the Melochia velufina, which is worn over the shoulder like 
a sash.' 

Mention will be made later on of the methods of being 
carried about in apparatus of greater complexity. Leaving 
here for a moment the passenger primeval we may observe 
the most simple kinds of burden- bearing. 

The millenniums of change through which human inven- 
tion has passed in the transforming of a rude stick or frame 
to fit on a man's back, or a burden strap to fit across hif 
torehead, or a pad to rest on his head, into the latest devices 
for transportation by land or by sea, constitute the history ol 
one of the world's activities. Many volumes would be 
required to tell the whole story ; but in this connection are 
to be rehearsed only a few of its opening paragraphs, and tc 
notice how these initial efforts survive into modern culture 
Here, also, we cannot stop with the thing invented, but must 
search for co-ordinate changes wrought in other industries. 

To have some conception of the enormous amount o: 
labour borne on human backs, calculate the weight of everj 
mound, earthwork, embankment, fort, canal, wooden, brick 

■ Kxcellent picture of Bechiiana women hoeing and carrying baby al thi 
same lime in Holuh, Ilbislricrler Fiihrer dunk die Siidafrik Amslelluiig 
I'l^, 1892, Olio, ]i. 86. 

= Mar, Andaman Istandtrs, l^ndon, 1S88, Triib., pp. 109, 180, pi 
vii., fig. 25. Consull also Pokrowski, Reimt d' Eihnagraphie, Paris, 1889 
50 pages wilh illuslradons. Also Les Nmirriuens et tittotn les fays tl h 
agts, A. Collin, Paris ; anil Ploss, Das Kind. 


and metal fabrication and structure on earth. These have 
all been carried many times and elevated by human muscle* 
Omitting the few heavy stones too weighty even for a com- 
bined human effort, all the freights of land trains and sea 
craft were first carried by men and will be lifted a,nd borne 
by them again and again. The ancient field gleaner, miller 
and cook performed little compared with the modern 
farmer, roadster, freighter, warehouseman, retailer, and 

If one should walk through the markets or along the 
docks of a great city at busy time, he would be surprised 
at the survivals of ancient ways of carrying existing on into 
our day. The human body is marvellously adapted to 
the greatest variety of burden bearing. Almost from the 
crown of the head to the foot loads may be attached. 
They are borne on the head, on one shoulder, on both 
shoulders, on the atlas, on the hips, on the thighs, on the 
arms, on the knees, and they are suspended from the top of 
the head in front ; from the forehead, resting on the back, 
from the neck, shoulder, breast, arms, hands, waist, and 
even from the knees. To suit these parts of the body there 
have been invented, ** the milkmaid^s P^d,^^ the forehead 
band, the porter^s knot, the "Holland yoke,'* the Chinese 
yoke, the pedlar's stick, market baskets, knapsacks, burden 
baskets, panniers, haversacks, grip-sacks, and all the rest. 

There are tribal and regional and national ways of 
attaching the load. What will suit the plain will not suit 
the mountain. What will suit meat will not be convenient 
for acorns, and so on to the end. 

These for single carriers. Then comes co-operative 
carrying involving the palankeen form, the bier, the lumber* 
man's stick held in the hands and supported on the knees. 
In the hill country of Hindostan as many as three hundred 
men have been seen carrying a menhir on a frame. The 
whole could not have weighed much less than fifteen tons» 
Every man in the street carries something, every lady has her 
package or her parasol. If all the loads great and small at 


aiiy'inomeiit resting on human bodies could be added up, it 
would equal at the same moment all other loads oa ships 
or railroad trains. 

LA Pullman palace train weighs from 780,000 to 1,000,006 
pounds, and travels at least forty miles per hour. A pack- 
man among our primitive peoples cannot possibly move 
over one hundred pounds ten miles a day. The train, with 
proper relays, will move nearly a thousand miles a day. 
Allowing one hundred and fifty pounds for the weight of 
the carrier, it required four hundred thousand men to do 
the work of this one train. The problem is not quite so 
simple as that, because another great advantage is gained 
by the diversification of industries, and business created by 
the making of the track, and the train, and the commerce 

If all of the carriers of the world were marched in a proces- 
sion in the order of the antiquity of their devices, taking into 
consideration the actual relationships and affiliations of cer- 
tain forms, the single burden bearers, sustaining their loads 
without any intermediary apparatus would come first, they 
would be followed by single carriers who were using some 
sort of apparatus. All of these could be put in lines ac- 
cording to the part of the body involved. 

The co-operative carriers might follow in accordance with 
the same evolutionary plan of arrangement. Before there 
were any means of transport over the mountains lying 
between Hope, on the Frazer river, British Columbia, and 
the Similkameen tribes, the Indians used to be employed to 
pack provisions on their backs'^!) The packs were suspended 
by means of a band or strap passed over their foreheads, and 
one of them, says Mrs. Allison, packs three sacks of flour 
(150 lbs.) on his back, while travelling on snow shoes for a 
distance of sixty-five miles over a rough mountainous road, 
with a depth of twenty-five feet of snow on the summit of 
Hope mountain, over which the trail ran.' 

Sometimes a whole family would start out on one of these 

* Mrs. S. S. Allison, J, Anthrop* Insi,, London, 1892, vol. xxi. p. 306. 


packing expeditions, the children, as well as their parents, 
each taking a load, and accomplishing the journey in six or 
eight days according to the state of the road. If an un- 
usually violent snowstorm overtook an Indian while travel- 
ling in the mountains, he would dig a hole in the snow, 
cover himself with his blanket, and allow himself to be 
snowed up. Here he would calmly sleep till the snow had 
passed, then he would proceed on his journeyT^ 

An interesting combination of toting with packing may 
be seen in Jamaica on any market-day. The picture of a 
negro woman with an immense weight on her head, fre- 
quently over one hundred pounds, is common enough. 
But this same woman, still retaining the load on her head, 
has learned to drive a donkey in front of her to help her in 
her work of transportation. A halter of rope serves for 
bridle, and this is attached to a long line held in the 
driver's hand. The little creature is almost concealed 
beneath its panniers and bags and bundles of produce.' 

Mr. Croffut makes an interesting statement about the 
Mexican porters. ** In every part of Mexico have I observed 
the Cargadores, patiently following the trails and carrying 
immense loads on their backs. I recollect seeing, four 
years ago, near a railroad station, half a dozen of them 
squatting on the ground, resting. One had a sofa upon his 
shoulders, strapped on I could not see how ; another bore a 
tower of chairs locked into each other, and rising not less 
than eight feet above his head ; another carried a hen-coop 
with a dozen or twenty hens, and others were conveying 
laden barrels and various household goods. They had come, 
they said, from San Luis Potosi, not less than fifty miles 
distant. These Cargadores will cover thirty miles a day for 
a week or more, going from ocean to Gulf. 

** During a ride which I made over the Andes on the Mexi- 
can National Railroad, these persistent carriers were almost 
always in sight from the car windows, the peons and burros 
following each other up and down the slopes. The vice- 

* See figure in Ward, /amaica ai Chicago^ New York, 1893, ^^^11, p. 95. 

344 *i*HE ORIGINS OK LnVenTioN. 

president of the road, Thomas C. Purdy, said, as we watched 
these animated trains advancing on parallel lines, * There 
is our rival. That is the only transportation company we 
fear. If it were not for that line, this country would treble 
its railroads next year, and the roads would double their 
profits. We are combatting the custom of centuries. 
Those fellows carry on their backs to Mexico the entire 
crops of great haciendas far over the mountains. I have 
sat down with a wealthy and enterprising haciendado and 
explained to him that we could do his carrying in a quarter 
of the time and for half the cost, and have seen him refuse 
to change, and stubbornly stick to the old method. I was 
never before so impressed with the tremendous force of 
habit/ " ' 

As transportation through the forests of Yucatan can be 
effected only on the backs of porters, the traveller has before 
him the humiliating spectacle of man reduced to a beast of 
burthen. The Indians, especially those of the central pro- 
vinces, are accustomed to this kind of labour, which their 
fathers pursued before them from time immemorial, and 
they not only carry merchandise and baggage, but the 
travellers themselves, by means of a kind of chair sus- 
pended from the shoulders." 

** For the Indians," of Vera Paz, Guatemala, " there is no 
road too bad : and where no beast can keep its feet, they go 
and carry loads without difficulty. Herein is seen the power of 
habit, since these people, beginning at six years* old to carry 
burdens, become such active carriers as to be able to make 
journeys of two hundred leagues or more, without suffering, 
when the best mule, if unshod, becomes so lame as to be 
unable to move a step. I have often seen them, after 
having hurt themselves by stumbling, hold a burning 
skewer near the wound or bruise, to prevent inflammation, 
and start fresh on their journey after this painful treatment. 
When on a journey they carefully avoid drinking cold 

' W. A. Croflfut in Am, Anthropologist ^ Washington, vol. ii. p. 80. 
» Morelet, Travels in Cent, Am,, New York, 187 1, p. 279. 

Travel and Transportation. 345 

water, and quench their thirst with water as warm as it can 
be taken. Their ordinary food is a little roasted maize 

paste, called totoposte, which they crumble into boiling 
water and so eat it, or else they warm it with chile and salt. 
Wherever they stop they stretch themselves at full length, 
although it be on the stones, extending to the utmost their 

legs and arms, and by this means they soon regain their 
vigour." ' 

This will serve to emphasize what the reader has been 

' Escobar, mj. Hey. Gtog. Sik., London, vol. xi. pp. 89-97, looted in 
Morelet, Ttavels in Cent. Am., New York, 1871, pp. 418-27. A good 
■Icetch of a huniBii beast of burden in the shape of d man dragging and 
canjing poles is in Whympet's Trav«h among tkt Grtal Andes of tit 


accustomed to see all his life, but not to observe. But the 
frontiersman, the farmer^s help, the mechanic at his ordi- 
nary employment, bows his back and harnesses himself to 
loads without much intermediary apparatus, the beginnings 
of which must now be examined. 

The porter's knot is a device roughly made like a huge 
horse-collar, and fitting down over the head and shoulders 
and upper back of a man, to enable him to do his very best 
in carrying. With such a load as he is represented as bear- 
ing. Atlas should have worn a porter's knot. The sight of 
these appliances is common enough on the commercial 
streets of London, and in another form in Constantinople ; 
but the author has never seen one in America. In addition 
to distributing the load over several parts of the body, they 
are padded so as to enable the carrier to take on hard boxes, 
furniture, and such things without bruising his flesh. 

(jn China human beasts of burden are even now more 
profitable than pack animals over narrow and circuitous 
passes. In Southern China the long string of coolies bearing 
down from the hills tea-leaves in deep baskets slung on 
poles is a familiar sight. The transport of brick-tea from 
Syn-chuan into Thibet is by coolies, who bear the packages 
on a wooden frame strapped to their shoulders. They make 
a fifteen days' journey, carrying one hundred pounds of tea 

In some places, where vehicles are used, the bridges are 
so narrow that the mules are unhitched and led singly, 
while the carts are carried over on men's shoulders.^ 

Men and women in Korea carry burdens upon frames 
that remind one of Europe rather than of Asia, as do other 
customs of the Land of the Morning Calm. The affair 
resembles a painter's knapsack or the framework of a 
wheelbarrow, without the wheel. It is hung to the bearer's 
shoulders by means of broad, braided ropes attached to the 
upper part of the apparatus, passing over and in front of 
the shoulders as in a knapsack, and attached by loops or 

* Minister Denby,y. Soc. ArtSy London, 1892, vol. xl. p. 166. 



kiiuts to the lowtjr tud of the principal pieces. From the 
outside of these two project two sticks outward to receive 
the load. This framework will hold all sorts of things, and 
is really a handy vehicle. 

The climax of transportation after the fashion of the knap- 
sack is reached in Monbutto land, where, Schweinfurth says, 
it is the fashion to 
pile up the hair in 
a high chignon. 
They naturally 
avoid exposing these 
artistic coiffures, ac- 
complished with so 
much expenditure 
of time, to the dan- 
ger of being crushed, 
and therefore carry 
baskets, after the 
manner of the pan- 
niers in Central 
Germany, support- 
ing them by means 
of bands slung over 
the forehead.' 

It is in connec- 
tion with this fore- 
head-band that a 
species of parbuckle 
is in use in both 
hemispheres. The 
carrier places the middle of a long line against his forehead, 
passes the two ends down under the pack and up to his 
shoulders. By pulling on the ends he rolls the load upon 
his back.' 

■ Schweinfurth, ArUi Afritanae, London, i8?5, pi. xviii. fig. 15 ; refers 
li> Chaillu,/i>((rM0'« Askaiigo, London, p. 84. 
' Mason, A'tf. U. S. Nat. Museum, 1886-7, P- 287, lig. 4^, 


The carrying -yoke was foreshadowed in Polynesia. A 
pair of gourds suspended from the auamo, or carrying-stick 
of the Hawaiian, served for traveller's trunks, one containing 
food, the other clothing. They were dried and carefully 
cleaned, furnished with a cover, which also served as a dish 
and a net to hold the cover close and to form handles.* 

The Hawaiian was very fond of carrying on his shoulder 
by means of the stick like the coolie's yoke. In Siam, 
Burma, and the Far East it is also in vogue. The Siamese 
perforate two long panniers, which are borne on the ends 
of a carrying-pole. 

jThe carrying of loads to any considerable distance neces- 
sitated the creation of paths, the removal of brushwood and 
loose stones, the study of slopes and the easiest way of 
crossing them, the cutting out of steps here and there, and 
the building up ol rude retaining walls where the escape- 
ments were too steep. Bridges would often be needed and 
fords, besides the marking of trees and the piling up of stones 
to guide the traveller when the ground was covered with snow. 

These were realised, in fact, over all the continents before 
there was a domestic animal trained. Curiously enough, 
the Indian trails in North America were taken up and 
adopted by the pioneer settlers of the continent. They 
were afterwards widened into waggon-roads, and not a few 
railroads follow on in the track of the waggons. Certain it 
is that some of the streets in thriving cities of the west 
follow the old Indian trails. In other places the trails have 
not been obliterated, and are pointed out by antiquarians?) 

The term ** pitching track " is applied to an Indian trail 
from one part of the country to another. West of Mani- 
toba, on the crest of the ridge, there is a narrow, well-worn 
path, which, for many generations, probably, has been the 
highway of the Indians passing to the Assiniboine, through 
the valley of Te-wa-te-now-sube. This is connected with 
the " Ridge Pitching track." ^ The same author explains 

^ Brigham, Cai, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, 1892, vol. ii. pp. 7, 22. 
* Hind, Canadian Red River , London, i860, vol. i. p. 51. 


how the roads are made in the Red River country for the 
toboggan sledges, by tramping a track first with snowshoes 
and following it up with the teams until it is as smooth as 
glass — a natural railway. 

In this primitive migration there were no cross-cuts. All 
roads were crooked ; the trails and paths, the roads and 
ancient river routes are paralleled in modern times by 
canals winding about contours, railroads as crooked as ram^s- 
horns, and even steamships meandering through the sea to 
follow their currents and the trade winds. The portages 
adopted by the American savages were possible where the 
head waters of rivers were near together, and where the 
buffalo-hide and the birch-bark made the light canoe 

[The working out of highways has been along some such 
method as the following. By land, men went first trackless, 
then by trail, path, common road, highway, paved way, 
railroad. On the water their routes were in small streams, 
on rivers, land-locked seas and canals, the open sea or ocean. 
Parallel with these ways of conveyance the commerce and 
communication were first local, then regional, then conti- 
nental, and finally world-embracingT) 

In the more favoured and cultivated regions of Mexico 
and Peru, the making of roads received still greater atten- 
tion. For the purpose of facilitating the procuring of food 
for the centres of population and for moving the fighting 
contingent still greater attention was paid to highways. 

That grading was well known to the American aborigines 
is attested by the approaches to the earthworks and fortifica- 
tions of the mound-builders of the Mississippi valley. The 
Cahokia mound opposite St. Louis is one hundred feet high, 
and the top is reached by a graded way, which is now used 
for a carriage-road. 

The ingenuity of savagery in this connection is best shown 
in the construction of bridges. A log thrown across a stream 
was about all that the savage mind attempted in the tempe- 
rate zone. The tropical man was really the primeval bridge 


builder, who had great chasms to cross, and who also had 
around him rattan, cane, bamboo, and long pliant vines. 
The occasion and the material evoked the necessary intellect, 
as they have ever done. 
, A few bridges of stone were constructed by the Spaniards, 
some after the Conquest, and a few others have been erected 
by their descendants ; but, as a rule, the rivers and mountain 

L B sCafion, Willi Ctii.l«i way. {Hayifv,,.) 

torrents are pa5sed>to-day by the aid of devices the same as 
were resorted to by the Incas, and at the points which they 
selected. In a'country destitute of timber, they resorted 
to suspension -bridges formed of cables of braided withes, 
stretched from bank to bank. Where the banks are high, 
or where the streams are compressed between precipitous 


rocks, these cables are anchored to piers of stone. In other 
places they are approached by inclined causeways. 

Three or four cables form the floor and principal support 
of the bridge, over which small sticks are laid transversely 
and fastened to the cables by vines, cords, or thongs of raw- 

Two smaller cables are sometimes stretched on each side 
as a guard or handrail. Over these frail and swaying 
structures pass men and animals, the latter frequently with 
loads on their backs.' It is not possible to say whether the 
inventors of modern suspension bridges did not copy this 
idea out and out without waiting for the regular processes 
of inheritance. In Sarawak a foot-bridge is constructed by 
planting two rows of long stakes in the ground alternately 
slanting in opposite directions, so that a small sapling laid 
in the fork will be horizontal and of the proper height. 
Each pair of stakes is lashed together at their intersection, 
and the bridge is further strengthened by perpendicular 
posts set under the footway. A pole is lashed along the 
top of each row of stakes to serve as a hand-rail. One of 
these between Paku and Serambo was a hundred feet long 
and nine feet high.^ 

The Dyak bridge consists of a stout bamboo for the foot- 
way, sustained by braces of the same material, for these 
engineers are well aware of the stability of the triangle. 
" When a stream is to be crossed an overhanging tree is 
chosen, from which the bridge is partly suspended, and it is 
partly supported by diagonal struts from the bank." In 
carrying a path along a precipice, the same combination of 
suspension and struts is used. ** These bridges are tra- 
versed daily by men and women carrying heavy loads." 

" From the landing-place to the hill a Dyak road had 
been formed, which consisted solely of tree-trunks laid end 
to end. Along these the barefooted natives walk and carry 

* Squier, Pertt^ &'c., New York, 1877, p. 544 ; figs. opp. pp. 545, 558, 
559. There are thousands of such bridges in Peru to-day. Jdt(/.y p. 505. 
^ Ilornaday, T700 Years in the Jtingle^ New York, 1885, p. 484. 


heavy burdens with the greatest ease, but to a booted 
European it is slippery work." 

" When a path goes over very steep ground, and becomes 
slippery, pieces of bamboo are cut about a yard long, 
and opposite notches being made at each end, holes are 
formed through which pegs are driven, and firm and 
convenient steps are thus built with the greatest ease and 
celerity." ' 

Across the Vanapa River in New Guinea, J. P. Thom- 
son saw an ingenious bridge made of rattaa. On one 
side of the river a large banyan-tree supported one end of 
the bridge fifty feet above the water. From this point it 
stretches seventy yards to the opposite side, where it was 
attached to a small tree supported by a stout post, and both 
of these were stayed by rattans to trees further back. The 
struts, foundation stringers and the rails, two on each sid6, 
were netted together by innumerable lacings of fine rattans, 
the whole looking like a modern cable bridge.^ 
(^Naturally, the carriage of passengers and freight on human 
backs was followed by the utilisation of animals. The study 
of the subject of domestication belongs to another chapter, 
but there are two animals in America and one in the 
Eastern Continent that have never done much for civilised 
peoples. These are the llama, the dog, and the reindeer. 
The last named, yielding its milk as well as its neck to the 
service of man, may be dismissed with a vote of thanks not 
only by the Board of Trade, but also by the Lapp mothers 
who utilised the milk of the reindeer in eking out their ownj^ 

The llama is confined to the sierras of South America, 
and has been used for a pack-animal from time immemorial. 
Its load is less than a hundred pounds, and its journeys per 
diem quite short. They are tractable animals, however, " a 
single drove laden with merchandise and containing from 

' Cf, Wallace, Malay ArchipeL^ New York, 1869, p. 89. Figure of Dyak 
crossing bamboo bridge, pp. 45, 89. 

= Cf, Thomson, British Neiv Guinea, London, 1892, Philip, p. 90, with 
good page plate facing. 

Travel and transportation. 353 

five hundred to one thousand head, being managed by eight 
or ten Indians." ' 

The freight and passengers in the Arctic region are trans- 
ported overland, or, rather, over Nature^s railroad track, the 
snow and ice, on sledges drawn by men and dogs. The 
parts of this operation to study in the sledge are the runners, 
the shoes, the cross-bars, the handles, the traction thongs, 
and the lashing. Concerning the dogs it is necessary to 
consider the domestication and training of the animal and 
the harness. And the economics of the apparatus involves 
the problem of greatest result with least effort over greatest 
difficulties and least natural resources. The runners are 
wrought from drift-wood or the bones of whales, and 
shod with strips of walrus ivory or whale-bone or whalers 
jaw, fastened on with tree-nails or lashed on with raw-hide 
thongs through countersunk holes. The cross-bars are longer 
than the sled is wide, and are not only pinned to the top of 
the runners, but thongs pass from their extended ends to 
the runners below and act as braces. The traction thongs are 
attached to the runners by toggles, and the thongs are joined 
by a lodp and toggle, for this is a cold country, and knots 
are hard to untie. The handles of the sledge may be of 
drift-wood, but, wanting that, these cunning elves of the 
ice- land knock off the antlers of the dead reindeer, together 
with a piece of the skull, saw off the prongs, invert the 
device, lash the tips to the rear ends of the runners and the 
thing is done. When all is finished, and the vehicle is 
about to start, the Eskimo inverts his sledge, fills his mouth 
with water and blows it along the shoe where it freezes, fills 
the cavities and lubricates the surface. After polishing this 
surface down with his mitten it is ready for loading and 

A Central Eskimo rarely brings up more than three or 

* For a resiinU of the literature on the llama and the paco sec Payne, 
History of America^ London, 1892, Macmillan, vol. i. pp. 317-330* 

' ^Vn excellent account in Boas, Sixth An^ Kep„ Bun Ethno',^ pp. 
529-538, figs. 482-488. 



four dogs at the same time. The young dogs are carefully 
nursed, and in winter they are even allowed to lie on the 
couch or are hung up over a lamp in a piece of skin. 
When about four months old they are first put to the 
sledge, and gradually become accustomed to pull. They 
undergo a deal of lashing before they are as useful as the old 

The harnessing of the dog has reference to the character 
of the animals and to the nature of the work to be done. If 
you were to take into account the necessities in the present 
case they would certainly include, besides many unfore- 
seen exigencies, the hitching of eight or ten dogs sepa- 
rately, provision for unhitching them instantly, the chance 
for the dog to jump out of his harness in a tight place, the 
possibility of taking a running start to set the sledge in 
motion, the opportunity to spread out or come together as 
occasion demanded, distance enough from the vehicle to 
keep out of the way on a descent.* 

The old trading routes which existed among the Central 
Eskimo before the coming of Europeans are described by 
Boas. Two desiderata formed the inducements to long 
journeys, which sometimes lasted several years — wood and 
soapstone. The shores of Davis Strait and Cumberland 
Sound are almost destitute of drift-wood, and consequently 
the natives were obliged to visit distant regions to obtain 
that necessary material. Their boats took a southerly course, 
and as the wood was gathered a portion of it was imme- 
diately manufactured into boat ribs and sledge runners, 
which were carried back on the return journey ; another 
portion was used for bows, though these were also made of 
deer's horn ingeniously lashed together. 

Another necessary article of trade, soapstone, is manu- 
factured into lamps and pots. It is found in a few places 
only, and very rarely in pieces large enough for the articles 
named. The visitors came from every part of the country, 

» Boas, Sixth An, Rep, Bur, Ethnoh , p. 538. 
" Boas, ioc, cit» 


the soapstone being dug or " traded " from the rocks by 
depositing some trifling objects in exchange.' 

Tylor says, " The wheel carriage, which is among the most 
important machines ever contrived by man, must have been 
invented ages before history. ... In looking for some hint 
as to how wheel carriages came to be invented, it is of little 
use to judge from such high skilled work as was turned 
out by the Egyptian chariot-builders, or by the Roman 
carpentarii or carriage-builders, from whom our carpenters 
inherit their name." ' 

/According to the fitness of things the wheel carriage is 
not prehistoric. Dense population, fixed roads and great 
traffic or wars first called it into existence. Among the 
Chinese the wheelbarrow is common. 3 There the country 
is hilly, and the paths narrow. The waggon or cart or 
chariot breaks upon us in Egypt, in Mesopotamia, in the 
Asiatic steppes, where the whole champaign is a level road 
and there are no forests to impede the progress of wheels.* 
In America the Red River cart and the lumbering Spanish 
vehicle are found under precisely similar environments. 

No savage people have been discovered without the means 
of navigation. In the frozen north, among the wretched 
Fuegians, in Australia, boats or rafts are in daily use. The 
construction of these were better considered in the study of 
woodcraft. Here their relation to carrying passengers and 
to primitive commerce is to be considered. In those 
regions where beasts of burden were scarce boats were 
plentiful ; they are the camels of the waters in the same 
sense that the latter is the ship of the desert. We shall 

' Boas, Sixth An, Rep, Bur* Eihftoi, p. 469. 

- Tylor, Aftthropologyr New York, 1881, D. A. & Co., p. 193, with 
Egyptian figure. 
3 The old ditty— 

** The way was so long and the street so narrow, 
That he had to bring his wife home on a wheelbarrow," 

would suit exactly the prehistoric lover. Though it would more naturally 
be the wife wheeling the husband home. 


look, therefore, for the most extended traffic by water in 
America and in the Indo-Pacific region. 

The primitive boat was propelled by poling, by cordeling 
or tracking, by paddling, by rowing, and by sailing. Steam 
navigation is altogether a product of our century. Survivals 
of the other varieties may be seen in the modern sand-scow, 
the canal boat, the canoe, the yawl, and the catamaran. In 
late years important discoveries have been made of old Norse 
and other wrecks. This information is further increased by 
the ancient historians and monuments. So we come to a 
knowledge of the first mariners by digging up the wrecks of 
time, by questioning the descendants of sailors in primeval 
seas, by searching for some out-of-the-way arm of the ocean 
where generations of hardy mariners have handed down the 
simplest forms and names of mast and sail and rigging, by 
watching children playing on the beach, if haply they may 
reinvent some of the earliest forms of ships sailed in during 
the childhood of the race.' j 

This particular subject demands a volume. Every good 
sailor and shipbuilder knows how little the cunning savage 
has left for them to invent in the matters of lines and pro- 
pulsion in the simpler craft. 

The Australian moves his extremely rude boat by poling. 
In Venezuela the rivers that enter into Lake Macacaibo are 
navigated by shallow boats propelled by poles, the man 
standing on one part of the boat. All through the 
Southern United States the author has seen thousands of 
"long-boats," "scows," and even vessels with square sails 
pushed by negroes into and out of the shallow creeks. 
A clear way from stem to stern on each side enables the 
men to set the large end of a long pine sapling against the 
bottom, the smaller end against the shoulder, and to walk 
from stem to stern, pushing with all their might. They 
then walk back and repeat the process. 

* Figures in Bohmer, S//i. Report^ 1891. For a delightful scene in which 
a company of naked negroes are dragging a helpless steamer through thd 
Nile grass, see Sir Samuel Baker, Ismdilia^ New York, 1875, opp. p. 53. 


The Eskimo boat is a model of construction in the light 
of our modem craft with skins of steel drawn over frames of 
iron. For the construction of the umiak, which is their 
open freight boat, drift-wood, prepared skins of the ground 
seal, and abundance of stout raw-hide from the same animal 
or from the walrus will suffice. The framework of the umiak 

lever device. 

is a marvel of economy in material and of strength. After 
this is carefully joined together with thongs, the hide cover 
specially prepared is drawn over as neatly as a taxidermist 
finishes his specimen. The thwarts are secured by thongs, 
and even the rowlocks, for oars are used instead of paddles, 
are loops of raw-hide linked together. Into this buoyant 
craft the women place all the impedimenta of the family, 
the aged and the children, and move as occasion demands. 


Dr. Rink is of the opinion that the skin-boat is the child 
of the birch-bark canoe, and that the more finished man's 
boat, kaiak, is after the same model, only, the farther the 
Eskimo has moved toward the open water, the more he has 
drawn the covering around him, until at last he sits in a 
well, with the gunwale fitting close to his body. In this 
case the utility of his craft is destroyed for freight, and 
becomes a passenger craft. Rather, it is turned into a 
man-of-war, for the deck is covered with weapons, and the 
manager goes forth to fight with beasts. 

Again, the historical question arises whether the wonderful 
similarity between the graceful lines of the kaiak and those 
of the racing shell is a matter of gradual descent or of out- 
right borrowing. 

The paddle is older than the oar, and for rude peoples in 
natural streams more convenient. It has been mentioned 
that the Australian uses a bit of bark in bailing out his 
canoe, and also in forcing her along. There are other 
peoples who lash a flat blade to a pole for a paddle. The 
form cut out of the whole piece is more common. This 
method of propulsion is noiseless, and may be used in waters 
tangled with vegetation and encumbered by overhanging 
trees and bushes. It is universal in Australia, in the Indo- 
Pacific Ocean, and may be found in parts of Asia. Many 
pictures of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese life exhibit the 
fisherman using the paddle. The Eskimo, however, in their 
open water umiaks use the oar. The rowlocks are a model 
of ingenuity. The oar passes through two loops or links of 
stout walrus hide attached to the gunwale in such fashion 
that one prevents it from moving forward, the other from 
moving backward, but they allow perfect play in rowing. 
The Easter islanders employ a sculling oar, the end of which 
is carved to guide the water in fixed lines. There is nothing 
in savagery near so complicated as the ancient • trireme, or 
the Norse boat, or the modern seine boat with oars. But 
with paddles the Caribs, the Haida, or the Polynesians could 
put those historic navigators on their muscle. 



l! i\ 



' /J 



Fig. 70.— forms of paddles in America, 
(U. S, Nat' Museum.) 


CTo witness the survival of the very ancient industry of 
tracking, one has only to stand on the footbridge of the 
Canal St. Martin, Paris, and watch the human horses 
hauling the boats into the locks. The harness is even more 
simple than that of an Eskimo dog, for it is only a strap or 
loop of leather like a bricole attached to the leading line of 
the boat. Into this loop the hauler thrusts his body, and 
now with his breast, now with his forehead, forges along, 
A similar loop or becket of rope was used in slavery days by 
the Southern negroes in hauling the seine. A Turk's-head 
knot at the free end enabled the seine hauler to attach him- 
self readily to the cork-line by simply passing the knot 
under and over the line and then overlapping it with the 
standing part as he surged backward with the becket over 
one shoulder, and under the opposite arm. 

But savages knew how to use the open water after the 
manner of a canal, walking now on the shore or bank, and 
now in the water. The Eskimo umiak, or family boat, is 
tracked along the shores and the edges of ice-floes both by 
dogs and men by means of walrus-hide lines. The Mon- 
tagnais Indians brought loaded canoes up the rapids safely 
by using two lines. Upon the Missouri, says Dr. Matthews, 
tracking or cordeling was common in the old fur-trading 
days. The method is in vogue everywhere in Africa, and 
leads up legitimately to the hauling of boats in canals or 
confined waters first by men, and then by beasts, and now 
by electricity.^ 

And, finally,. th» savage mind invented the sail. The 
Indians of all stocks, from Mount St. Elias southward to the 
Columbia river, peel off the inner bark of the cedar. Thuja 
gtgantea^ and strip the inner portions into ribbons no thicker 
than the annual layer, and one-eighth of an inch in width. 
This they weave into mats and sails often ten feet square. 
These sails are set on the wind, the direction of the boat 
being governed by the men with their paddles. There is no 
provision for shifting the sails.' 

' Consult Tylor, Anthropology^ New York, 1881, pp. 252-59. 


Buttfar more successful in the use of the open water than 
any other savages of modern times were the Pacific islanders 
They made a canoe of bundles of bulrushes, in which they 
were not afraid to venture out of sight of land. This same 
craft is common in Peru, But in their dug-out and built-up 
canoes, made double or with outriggers, propelled by paddles 
and sails, they visited every archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. 


Fir 71 . 

A little before the time when Europe was agitated on the 
subject of maritime disco\ery canoe \oj ages were made by 
the Polynesians between Tahiti and Hawan a distance of 
twenty-three hundred miles A=i soon as the invention of 

' See N, B, Emerson, Hanaiiaii Hit W Mij 18 1893 Smilh 
TroHS. Australian A. A. S 1891 Ale\ander A Brie/ IfisUry of tit 
Hawaiian People, New York 1891 Fomandet Pefynestan Sa e 2 vols 


the outrigger, the sail, and compressed food were perfected 
they sallied forth fT 

Associated with water travel to be supplemented by land 
travel is the primitive custom of establishing "canying- 
places.*' A carrying-place is a path along which goods are 
transported around falls and torrents of rivers, or across 
country from one navigable water to another. In the former 
case the craft may be either hauled up through the water, 
or' itself borne around with the goods. In the case of the 
birch-bark canoe, employed by the Indians of the lake region 
of North America, there was no difficulty of transporting it 
many miles. 

** On these occasions only," says Hearne, " we had recourse 
to our canoe, which, though of the common size, was too 
small to carry more than two persons, one of whom always 
lies down at full length for fear of making the canoe top- 
heavy, and the other sits on his heels and paddles. This 
method of ferrying over rivers, though tedious, is the most 
expeditious way these poor people can contrive, for they are 
sometimes obliged to carry their canoes one hundred and 
fifty or two hundred miles without having occasion to make 
use of them ; yet at times they cannot do without them ; 
and were they not very small and portable, it would be 
impossible for one man to carry them, which they are often 
obliged to do, not only the distance above mentioned, but 
even the whole summer." ^ The bark canoe made of a 
single piece is found in Australia and South America, on 
the Columbia and the Amur river. The last named two are 
identical, having the bow and the stern pointed below the 

How far these fur-hunting savages were from the most 
primitive sort of ferry ! They actually carried their ferry- 
boats hundreds of miles on their backs, not knowing the 
moment when they would encounter a lake or a river. In 
other words, it was cheaper to do so. There were ferries at 
certain points on the rivers further south, and they were 

' llesLme, /burftey, ^'c, Ix>ncloii, 1795, Strahan, p. 40. 


common in Tibet. Catlin often speaks of being taken 
across the Missouri and its tributaries by Indian women 
in tbeir bull-boats, made by stretching the hide of a buiialo 
bull over a crate made of poles. The coracle is a more 
improved form. 

^The extent and variety of ancient commerce on all the 
continents is attested by the occurrence of articles in graves, 
the materials of which are not found in the vicinity. Copper, 
mica, shells, curious stones, metals in the possession of his- 
toric tribes also bear wi'"=" "" *■"• -iJ*^— '"" "' ►-.^'1= Even 

men belonging to peoples far distant have been met by 
travellers in their prospecting, and in many tribes there 
were laws providing that they should not be molested. 
This trade had pervaded Europe before Ciesar's day, and it 
had explored every land before its historic period. 

Hearne gives a wonderful example of this extended travel, 
" It is indeed well known to the intelligent and well-informed 
part of the Company's servants that an extensive and nume- 
rous tribe of Indians, called E-ar-che-thinnews, whose county 
lies far west of any of the Company's or Canadian settle- 
ments, must have traffic with the Spaniards on the west side 
of the continent, because some of the Indians who traded 


formerly at York Fort, when at war with those people, 
frequently found saddles, bridles, muskets, and many other 
articles, in their possession, which were undoubtedly of 
Spanish manufacture. I have seen several Indians who 
have been so far west as to cross the top of that immense 
chain of mountains which run from north to south of the 
continent of America. Beyond these mountains all rivers 
run to westward. I must here observe, that all the Indians I 
ever heard relate their excursions in that country had inva- 
riably got so far to the south that they did not experience 
any winter, nor the least appearance of either frost or snow, 
though sometimes they had been absent eighteen months or 
two years." * 

Im Thurn says that there exists among the Guiana 
Indians a rough system of division of labour between the 
tribes, and this serves not only the purpose of supplying all 
of them with better made articles, but also brings the 
different tribes together and spreads among them ideas and 
news of general interest . Each tribe has some manufacture 
peculiar to itself, and its members constantly visit other 
tribes, often hostile, for the purpose of exchanging the pro- 
ducts of their own labour for such as are produced by the 
other tribes. These trading Indians are allowed to pass 
unmolested through an enemy*s country.'* 

Of all the tribes on the coast the Warraus make far the 
best canoes, and supply them to the neighbouring tribes. In 
the same way, far in the interior, the Wapianas build boats 
for all the tribes of that district. The Macusis make ourali 
for poisoning arrows, the darts of blowpipes, and an abun- 
dance of cotton hammocks. The Arecunas grow, spin, and 
distribute most of the cotton which is used by the Macusis 
and others for hammocks. They also supply all blowpipes, 
for these are made of the stem of a palm, which, growing 
only in and beyond the Venezuelan boundary of their terri- 
tory, are procured by the Arecunas, doubtless in exchange, 

* llea.rne, yburttey, »SrV., London, 1795, Strahan, p. 40. 

^ C/,lm Thurn, Ittd. of British Guiana^ London, 1883, p. 270. 


from the Indians of the native districts of that palm. The 
Tarumas and Woyowais have a complete monopoly of the 
manufacture of the graters on which Indians of all the 
tribes grate their cassava. They are also breeders and 
trainers of hunting dogs. These distribute their graters 
and dogs through the Wapianas, who act as middlemen. 
The true Caribs make the best pottery, the Arawaks make 
fibre hammocks of a kind peculiar to them. 

To interchange their commodities the Indians make long 
journeys. The Wapianas visit the Tarumas and Woyowais, 
carrying canoes, cotton hammocks, knives, beads, and 
European goods. Leaving the canoes they walk back, 
carrying a supply of cassava graters and leading hunting 
dogs. The Macusis visit the Wapianas to obtain graters and 
dogs, for which they give ourali-poison and cotton ham- 
mocks ; and these in turn carry such graters and dogs as 
they do not require, together with their own ourali and 
cotton hammocks, to the Arecunas, who give in return 
cotton and blowpipes, or to the true Caribs, who pay in 
pottery. In this way travellers with news and goods pass 
from district to district." ' No doubt this sort of commerce 
has been in vogue since the beginning of migration, scarcely 
any group of human beings having ever entirely lost their 
contact with other portions of the species.^ 

' Cf, Im Thurn, I ltd. of British Guiana^ London, 1 883, cap. xiv. 



*' At no period of man's life were wars the normal state of existence. 
While warriors exterminated each other, and the priests celebrated their 
massacres, the masses continued to live their daily life, they prosecuted 
their daily toil. "— K R apotk IX. 

The contemplation of the activities of primitive man in face 
of the greater animals is an excellent preparation for the 
study of war. Doubtless the motives and the actions of 
the wild beast were copied by men, both in their aggressive 
and their protective conduct. After the same fashion the 
weapons of warfare and those of hunting were modelled on 
identical notions. This parallel is painfully correct, even to 
the point of hunting men for food. However, the appliances 
in the two sets of activities are sufficiently differentiated to 
merit a separate treatment. 

The present organisation, drill, and actions of the great 
armies and navies of the world are the resultants of the past 
efforts of leaders and students of military science. Back- 
ward in unbroken order the whole series could be traced to 
savagery. Not even in the lowest grade were men devoid 
of discipUne. The first principles of defence and offence 
were then studied out and practised. The art of war has 
always engaged the greatest minds. There never was a 
tribe or nation that did not have its grand marshal, or 
generalissimo, or commander-in-chief, or war chief, whatever 
his title might be. For example, among the Muskhogean 

tribes, " the next one in dignity and power was the great 



war-chief. He led the army. In council his seat was 
nearest the mico, on his left, and at the head of the most 
celebrated warriors. On the right of the mico sat the 
second head-chief of the tribe, and below him the younger 
warriors of the nation." * This picture would be a true one 
for any other of the martial tribes of America, or of Africa, 
or of the Indo-Pacific. 

The modern books on warfare divide the subject into 
strategy, tactics, and engineering. Strategy includes every- 
thing that is done out of sight of the enemy, and in prepara- 
tion for actual fighting. By tactics is meant the actual 
fighting, the movement of the troops to the battle-field, their 
conduct and manipulation in the engagement. The engi- 
neer prepares the ground for offence or defence, and has 
charge also of roads and bridges. There are incidents pre- 
ceding and succeeding the battle not included in these. 

To obtain even a superficial view of the genius of savages 
in war it is necessary to examine the causes which induce 
them to undertake it, their modes of declaring war, the 
methods of recruiting and organising and drilling troops, 
their weapons and standards, their means of subsistence 
and transportation, and such other precautionary measures 
as they take regarding themselves, their families, and their 

In the second place, savage tactics should be studied, 
their method of going to battle, of trailing the enemy, of 
actual fighting, their music and war-cries, captives, trophies, 
and neutrals. 

And, thirdly, the best minds will always be found exer- 
cising themselves over the subject of temporary and per- 
manent fortifications. These are the works of engineers in 
primitive times, whose remains in different parts of the 
world are encountered by explorers and excite the wonder of 
the civilised. Even the native populations can frequently 
give no account of their origin, only that they were erected 
by giants who perished long ago. The universality of such 

' Jones, Southent htdiansy New York, 1873, p. Ii. 


remains has induced many writers to defend a theory of 
degradation instead of progress in culture. 

The most simple warfare was the duel, with or without 
weapons. The assassin and the duellist are survivals of the 
most primitive warriors. Before conflicts between commu- 
nities could have existed there had to be rival communities, 
and even between them, if we are to believe those who know 
savages best, the disputes of individuals brought on blood 
revenge, and precipitated conflicts. It is not to be supposed 
that war was ever the normal occupation of any people. 
As now, so in all ages, war is an incident, an outbreak, a 
frenzy that soon exhausts itself. 

Mr. Dorsey says that among the Omahas war was caused 
by the stealing of horses, the elopement of women, and 
infringement on hunting grounds. It is to be presumed 
that similar causes operated among other tribes. One of 
these causes recalls the elopement of Helen and the rape of 
the Sabines as cases of survival from a lower culture.* In 
aboriginal times war was occasioned by encroachments upon 
the standing order of things. Tribal endogamy tended to 
solidify each stock as against the whole world. 

In Samoa war was provoked by the murder of a chief, a 
disputed title, or a desire for aggrandisement, and hostilities 
were prevented by giving up the culprit, paying a fine, bow- 
ing down in submission.^ In more general warfare the three 
groups were the highway soldiers, the bush soldiers, and the 
sea fighters. 

In Africa aggressive wars were common since historic 
times ; but the enslavement of negroes to bear the burdens 
of the world was the moving cause in most of these 

Most frequently there was no overt declaration of war, 
but when a great conflict was decided upon much ceremony 

' Dorsey, Third An. Rep, Bur. Ethnol.^ Washington, 1884, p. 312. 
For Mexican pretexts, see Bandelier, Tenth An. Rep, Peabody Mus.^ Cam- 
bridge, 1877, p. 128.. 

* Turner, Samoa, London, 1884, p. 189. 


preceded. In the aggressive tribe there were meetings, 
debates, laying of plans, considering ways and means. The 
language used on such occasions was not infrequently the 
national classic, incomprehensible to the laity. The author 
has witnessed one of these councils, and will never forget 
the dignity and the earnestness of some of the orators, who 
shrewdly guided their language by the abundance or scarcity 
of grunts that followed each pause. 

Among the Southern Indians of the United States war 
was determined on by the war-chief, but his decisions were 
subject to the approval of the council. Subordinate to the 
war-chief were the leaders of parties. As soon as war was 
declared each warrior painted and plumed himself, provided 
a small bag of parched corn to eat, armed himself with a 
long bow and a quiver of arrows suspended from the right 
hip, and frequently with a formidable club made of hard 
wood and a spear. Thus equipped he set off from the village 
with a great noise and defiant shouts. The head-warrior 
taking the lead, was followed by the rest in single file.* 

" The Aetas, or negrito people of the Philippines, on the 
death of a member of one of their tribes sally out to avenge 
him, and slay the first living thing they encounter as a pay- 
ment. As they proceed on such an expedition they break 
the twigs off trees in a certain manner to warn friends off 
their line of march." These are among the lowest of 
savages, and the custom is mentioned to call attention to 
the primitive method of giving information.* Evidence is 
not wanting that in certain cases the enemy was notified of 
the coming attack, and he was warned to prepare himself 
for punishment. 

Men were not recruited for these primitive armies either 
by conscription or enlistment, but each youth on arriving 
at an age established by usage passed through a trying 
ordeal, the successful endurance of which marked him as 

' Cf. De Bry, A Brief e and True Report^ <Sr»f., Francoforti, 1590, p. 25. 
' Gironiere, Twenty Years in the Philippines^ cjuoted by E. Best, /. 
Polynes, Soc.^ Wellington, 1892, vol. i. p. 12. 



one worthy to bear arms. The tribe was perpetually 
mobilised. The organisation of the male members of each 
for warlike purposes was adapted to its social structure. 
The fighting groups were kinsmen, after the manner of 
that people. As in all other arts, the co-ordination of 
structures is as complete as in the natural world.* 

Every male of the Mexican tribe was born a warrior. 
When still a babe his father placed alongside of the child 
a small bow and some arrows in token of its future duties. 
There was no military caste at Tenuchtitlan or Mexico ; with 
the exception of children, old people, infirm or crippled 
persons, and sometimes priests, every one had to go to war. 
" No youth over fifteen years of age should remain. All 
had to go except children and old people.*' There was no 
standing army, the available force being composed of all the 
able-bodied men of the tribe of Mexico.* 

The sources of information concerning primitive weapons 
and the manner of using them are the aborigines of the two 
Americas, the native Africans, and the mixed peoples in 
the Indo-Pacific region. Reference may also be made to 
the Arctic tribes of Asia, but neither they nor the Eskimo 
are given to fighting ; so their genius has been expended 
rather in the invention of hunting and fishing implements. 
Strange enough, in each of these three areas attention 
has been given especially to one of the three forms of 
wounding. The Americans are, par excellence^ piercers ; the 
Africans slashers and the Indo-Pacific peoples are gifted with 
the club. This is not a fixed rule, however, as in each area 
other sorts of wounds are also in vogue. It is a fact that 
the true Polynesians were ignorant of the use of the bow as 
a weapon, that the greatest diversity of bows and arrows 
was in America, and that no other savages devised such a 

' On ordeals cf» Catlin ; for India, Hunter's Imp, Gazetteer of Indian 
vol. vi. p. 58. 

' Bandelier, Tenth An, Rep, Peabody Mus,^ Cambridge, 1877, p. 98, 
quoting Clavigero, Gomara, Torquemada, and A. Costa. 


variety"ot apparatus for, and delighted so much in, hacking 
human flesh as the Africans.' 

Ling Roth gives a list of weapons in Borneo, i. The 
Shght\ a wooden javelin with point hardened in the fire ; 
2. Apieng^ dart stems with poisoned points ; 3. Sangkoh^ 
long wooden spear with metal head and spud ; 4. Duku^ or 
i>arang pedang^ a species of scimitar ; 5. Parang nabur^ or 
short curved sword with bone handle ; 6. Parang ilang^ 
the Kyan style of parang ; 7. The Katapu^ or decorated 
helmet of wicker work ; 8. Gagong^ or war jacket of skin ; 
9. Klamhi taiahy padded or quilted cotton jacket. 10. Trabat\ 
or shield.'' 

For the single warrior, offensive weapons or implements 
niay be studied structurally or functionally. According to 
the former, these would be blunt weapons, edged weapons, 
and pointed weapons. Further on there ought to be 
examples which include two or even three of these in one, 
as the sabre bayonet, which may be used in many ways. 
Expressing the same ideas functionally would give us 
bruising, cutting, and piercing weapons. 

Again, the manner of holding and using divides the same 
objects into hand weapons and missiles. 

Hand weapons are such as do not leave the hand in doing 
their work. As in the case of the primitive mechanic's 
tools, the arms of the warrior are to be considered in their 
grip or handle, and in their working part. In the simple 
case of the stone or stick held in the hand for bruising, 
hacking, or stabbing, the working part and grip are prac- 
tically the same ; only one end is modified to suit the hand 
and the other to do the work. The fundamental idea in 
each of the three sets of hand weapons is as simple as that ; 
but practically no people are known so rude as not to have 

* Lane Fox, Catalogue^ London, 1877, Eyre, Ac, vols, i., ii. ; 
Tregear, "The Polynesian Bow," y. Polyms, Soc, Wellington, New 
Zealand, 1892, vol. i. pp. 56-59. 

^/. Anthrop. Inst.^ London, 1892, vol. xxii., from Papers of Hon. 
Brooke Low. 


gone a step further. It will be seen that the handle parts of 
weapons may differ in length from a few inches to several 
feet, as in the stiletto and the Japanese long-handled sabre. 
They differ also in rigidity, as the slung shot and the club. 
They also are much varied in the adaptation to the form of 
the hand and to the idea of guarding and parrying, as in the 
totally exposed Fijian club and some types of the African 
swords. The working parts of weapons are subject to an 
infinite variety of forms dependent upon climate, natural 
resources, forms of defence, race proclivities, and even upon 
the idiosyncrasies of the enemy .^ 

The following is Adrien de Mortillet^s classification of 
weapons modified to suit the present purpose: — 

T. Bruising Weapons. 

/;/ the hand. The fist, with or without " knuckles.** 
With a handle. Club, flails, scourges. 
Projectile, Stone bullets, blunt arrows. 

II. Piercing Weapons. 

Jn the hand, Poignard and rapier. 

With a handle. The lance and the pick. 

Projectile, Javelin, harpoon, thrown from the hand, with 
an amentum (fixed or mobile), or with a throwing stick 
or spear thrower (pocketed or hooked). 

III. Cutting Weapons. 

/;/ the hand. The sabre with stone blades. 

. With a handle. The battle-axe or pole-axe. 

Projectile, Boomerang, African throwing knives, bladed 

" Of all weapons employed by savages the club is probably 
entitled to be considered the most primitive." " 

' A. de Mortillet, Hev, Metis, de VEcole ctAnthrop,^ Paris, 1892, vol. ii, 

pp. 92, 93- 
* Lane Fox, Catalo^te, London, 1877, Eyre, &c., p. 6l. 


The club is single-handed or double-handed. And in a 
series of them, especially from Melanesia or Polynesia, it is 
possible to follow minutely the thought of the maker. The 
plainest of the little Fijian single-handed clubs is a stick 
ending in a globular excrescence whose surface is regularly 
wrinkled. Now, in making more elaborate examples, these 
islanders work out similar forms, and replace the wrinkles 
with exquisitely carved patterns. In the same manner, 
the crudest two-handed club is a stock of a small tree, 
having a two-pronged root, on the outer margin of which 
is a peculiarly wrinkled appearance. But much finer clubs 
are carved in this same form, and, curiously enough, the 
carved ornamentation is always put where the wrinkled 
surface occurs in the crude specimens. 

General Pitt Rivers^s collection in the Oxford Museum is 
especially rich in the evolution of the club, and his catalogue 
is the very best treatise on the subject.' 

In the American area the club was a complicated affair, 
often a compound weapon for bruising, gashing, and piercing 
in the most dreadful manner. The oft-repeated story of the 
Mexican specimens, consisting of a heavy stick grooved along 
the side for the insertion of blades of obsidian are more 
than matched by the reality in examples from the Plains 
tribes. The Sioux standard club is a flat piece of wood 
curving and widening away from the grip, and terminating 
in a spherical head, which in modern times carries a long 
spike. It is not uncommon also to see the blades of one or 
more butcher's knives firmly inserted along the margins. 
The United States National Museum possesses a great 
variety of these ugly weapons, designed, as the frontiersmen 
say, to " knock down the white man and then to brain him 
and cut him into mince-meat." 

John Smith says that the Virginia Indians for swords 
often used the horn of a deer put through a piece of wood 
in form of a pickaxe, some a long stone sharp at both ends, 

* Science and Art Department, South Kensington, Bethnal Green 
Branch Museum. 


used in the same manner/ This is interesting because the 
Siouan tribes universally used the mace with head of stone 
sharpened at both ends, and the Pacific coast tribes in Alaska 
and Columbia have from time immemorial made their picks 
for braining slaves of horn or ivory or other hard substaace 
"in form of a pickaxe/* 

The South American tribes make clubs which strongly 
remind one of the Polynesian varieties. Those of the Carib 
tribes are square in cross section, elegantly polished, and 
ornamented with woven cotton bands. 

The African hand-weapons for striking, owing to the 
acquaintance of the natives with iron, are exceedingly 
complicated. Indeed, the plain clubs in that area are for 
throwing. The standard hand club is converted into a sort 
of tomahawk by the addition of a blade, or into a spear by 
the addition of a sharp spud. In the museums of ethno- 
logy may be seen now and then from Africa, plain clubs 
carved from the small tusks of young elephants. These have 
no attachments for cutting or piercing. 

The ordinary hand weapon of the Dinka and other 
heathen negro tribes on the shores of the Upper Nile 
territory is the ** boUong,'* or club, with a pointed ferrule. 
The Kaffir kerries are similar in shape. One of Schwein- 
furth's * examples has a disc-shaped head, and the object 
served as striking and thrusting weapon and for a seat. 
The Bechuana as well as the Zulu type is a knobbed stick 
or horn, useful not only at close quarters, but also as a 
missile in hunting, in which function it is managed with 
deadly precision. 

The Polynesians have developed an interesting series of 
weapons, called paddle clubs, in which they seem to have 
summed up the whole story of their method of going to 
war. That the clubs are developed from the paddle can be 
seen on inspecting any series, notably those in the Oxford 
Museum. The whole theory of cutting, thrusting, and 

' History of Virginia^ Arber reprint, p. 31. 

^ Artes Africanae^ London, Sampson Low, p. i, figs. 3, 4, 5i 18. 


Striking is involved in one of them, which, on occasion, 
may be used also in getting a canoe out of danger or into a 
safe place. Indeed, many of these paddle clubs have passed 
into the sphere of ceremony, being elegantly carved with 
lace-like tracery over the entire surface. 

For slashing, the American savage devised a leaf-shaped 
dagger-blade. A strip of soft fur wrapped about one end 
served for a grip ; but he also knew how to insert the tang 
into a haft of wood, or of antler, and secure it there with 
sinew lashing, gum or glue. The very same forms occur in 
flint over Western Europe, showing that in prehistoric 
times the inhabitants gashed one another's faces and bodies 
with short swords of stone. In countries where obsidian 
was abundant, blades of this material were inserted into 
handles, to be used as battle-axes. The Indian tomahawk 
is the true descendant of such a weapon.^ 

In the Polynesian area, in Easter Island specially, the 
axe-blades of obsidian are most savage looking. The 
polished stone- workers, .wherever material of sufficient 
hardness could be procured, invented the true short sword. 
There is a blade of jade-like material in the United States 
National Museum, from Alaska, which might have been 
taken as a model for metal short swords. The native 
Africans, however, easily deserve the palm for gashing and 
slashing weapons. They frequently have no other function, 
but as often unite the office of ** cut and thrust " in the 
same arm. Quite as much as German university students, 
the negro warrior prides himself upon the number of his 
scars. In times of peace be will hack his own flesh and 
retard the healing to produce ugly cicatrices. The execu- 
tioner's sword in this area combines keenness of edge with 
the force of the battle-axe. It is the ancestor of the modern 
sabre. The Kingsmill islanders and other Polynesians made 
a dreadful slashing implement by securely sewing rows of 
sharks' teeth along the sides of a handle of wood. These 

' On the Mexican maccuahuitly see Bandelier, Tenth An, Rep, Peabody 
Mus,, Cambridge, 1877, P* ^^7* 


sharks* teeth slashing weapons vary in length from a few 
inches to sixteen feet. They are stillettos, dirks, short 
swords, long swords, and poleaxes. In all the range ot 
weapons there is nothing more blood-curdling to behold. 

The dagger or dirk-knife of the African tribes is worthy 
of a separate chapter. Schweinfurth says that, " diffused 
over a great part of equatorial Africa, this weapon, which 
serves also for domestic purposes, forms the characteristic 
mark of a whole series of tribes between the Zambesi and 
the Upper Nile. The knives of the Balonda are not to be 
distinguished from those of the Niam Niam. The dirks of 
the South African negro tribes, and of several on the West 
Coast, present a contrast to the above form, being dis- 
tinguished by a spear-shaped outline of the blade, suddenly 
becoming constricted and narrowed.' 

The falcate edges of the Monbutto and other African 
swords were designed to meet an emergency. " This way 
of dealing hacking [picking] rather than slashing strokes 
was manifestly intended to wound the head, which is pro- 
tected, as with a helmet, by a high coiffure, while the blow 
of a sabre or a sword, in our fashion, would fall ineffectually 
on the elastic bolster." Hence the term " pick " applied to 
such weapons by Pitt Rivers is eminently appropriate.^ 

This style of weapon reappears in the negroid area of the 
Indo-Pacific, and for the same reason, to pierce through the 
massive woolly coiffure. It should be compared with the 
Alaskan " slave-killer.'* 

The missile weapon has developed more ingenuity in the 
lower grades of culture than has the hand weapon. They 
may be thus arranged : — 

__ , . ., ( From the naked hand. 

I. Hand missiles. -^ t^ ^ ^ .* . ^ 

\ From a rest or an amcnttim* 

* Schweinfurth, Artes Africanaei London, 187$, vol. xii. figs. 6-10. 
For bone daggers of the Eskimo, see Murdoch, Ninth An, Rep, Bur, 
EthnoL^t Washington, 1892, p. 192, figs. 174 and 175. 

* Schweinfurth, Heart of Africa^ London, 1875, pi. xviii. 


( From a sling or atlatl. 

2. Machine missiles. I From a bow. 

' From a blow-tube. 

The thing projected may be a bruising weapon, as in 
sling-missiles and blunt arrows ; a cutting weapon, as in the 
trumbash or the bladed-arrow ; or, chiefly, a piercing 
weapon, as the whole genus of javelins, darts, arrows, and 
sumpitan bolts. 

The grip and sudden release of the fingers enables the 
energy of the arm to be exploded and used in hurling the 
javelin. The hand-rest and the amentum are inventions 
which enable the warrior to economise the muscular effort 
otherwise used in grip and to employ it all in the hurling. 
The sling converts circular motion into rectilinear motion, 
adding momentum to muscular force. The projectile usually 
is a bruising weapon. 

The Mexican atlatl or throwing-stick or spear-thrower 
found in Australia, Melanesia, and in America from Point 
Barrow to the Argentine combines muscular force with 
prolonged effort. It is also a convenience for a man who 
has only one free hand. 

The bow converts the pent-up elasticity of wood or 
animal substance or metal into rectilinear motion. The 
spring-gun is a bow. The blow-tube is really the legitimate 
prototype of the gun. It converts the elasticity of compressed 
air into rectilinear motion. It is not here said that the 
inventors of arquebuses ever saw a sarbacan or a sumpitan, 
because on the theory of this book, the parentage of in- 
ventions is an intellectual one. The arquebuse and the air- 
gun doubtless sprung from an imaginary sarbacan, and 
combined the missile of the sling and of the " stone-bow " 
therewith. The bow and the arrow and the arbalest were 
its rivals. It is a hunting weapon rather than one for war. 

** Nearly all savages are in the habit of throwing their 
weapons ; even apes are known to throw stones, the North 
American Indian throws his tomahawk, the Indians of the 
Gran Chaco throw their inacana^ akind of club, the Kaffirs 


and the negroes of Western Africa throw the knob-kerry 
and trumbashes/* Grant says that the women of Faloro, 
East Africa, hold their knives by the tip of the blade and 
throw them at their adversaries. The Fiji islander throws 
his knob-headed club, the New Zealander his pattoo pattoo^ 
and the Australian his dowak. Even the Franks are 
supposed to have thrown t\\Q\r francisca^ and we learn from 
Blount's travels in 1634 that the Turks used the mace for 
throwing as well as for striking.^ 

The natives of New Hebrides were expert at throwing a 
stone called a kawas. It is about the length of an ordinary 
counting-house ruler, only it is twice as thick, and this they 
throw with deadly precision when the. victim is within 
twenty yards of them.^ The knob-kerry, or kiri, before 
mentioned, throughout South Africa, the boomerang-like 
rabbit-clubs of the Indians in South-western United States, 
and, most effective as a wounding hand-missile, the 
Australian boomerang deserve mention among the most 
clever devices in this class. The boomerang and its con- 
geners are also quasi edge-tools, but their work is to break 

The pingah, or projectile of the Niam Niam, is a cutting 
or slashing missile of infinite diversity of shape, but in every 
case consists of three two-edged blades — a short, broad one 
at the apex, triangular or heart-shaped ; an oblong blade 
near the point, which is the longest of the three and is at 
right angles to the shaft or axis of the weapon j a third and 
shorter blade on the opposite side and just above the handle, 
and set at an acute angle to the shaft or axis. The handle 
itself is only an elongation of the middle part and is wound 
with stout twine. 

The pingah is thrown in such a way as to revolve in the 
plane of its blades, and no matter in what position it reaches 
its destination, in every instance it strikes with a sharp edge. 
In fact, this artistically wrought weapon is thrown only in 

' Lane Fux, Catalogue, London, 1877, Eyre, &c., pis. i. and ii. p. 29. 
' Turner, Samoa, London, 1884, P* 312. 


extreme cases ; generally it serves as a battle-axe, the sickle- 
like point turned forward. 

Projectiles of a similar kind, sometimes made of wood, 
sometimes of iron, are spread over a large part of the 
northern half of the continent. Among the Mohammedan 
negro tribes of the Soudan, from the Tchad lake to Abyssinia, 
flat, two-edged projectiles of wood, sickle-like and widened 
towards the point, are used in hunting fowls and small 
mammalia. Such wooden projectiles are called in the 
Upper Sennaar " Trumbash." 

Similar to the pingah is the kulbeda of the Fundy and 
the Berta negroes in the Upper Sennaar. It consists of two 
blades, and has a wooden hilt. The longer blade inserted 
in the elongation of the tang is sometimes sword-like or 
sickle-shaped, sometimes curved to and fro in a serpentine 
form. The lateral blade of the kulbeda is quite short, 
and serves chiefly for the protection of the hilt, as a sword 
breaker or a guard. 

In Central Sudan, projectile irons are called " Shanger- 
manger," and are to be seen in a great variety of shapes. 
The lower end of the shaft is wound with rope. As a rule, 
only two blades are in use. 

The negroes of Borgoo, Wadai, Ennedi, and the Tibboo 
are fond of using them. The shangermanger of the Musgoo 
correspond in shape almost exactly to the kulbeda of the 
Berta and Fundy. 

The projectiles of the Fan in equatorial West Africa 
exhibit the greatest similarity to those of the Niam Niam 
in question.' 

The javelin thrown from the naked hand finds its highest 
development in the South African assagai. The Americans 
did not use the simple javelin. It was only in connection 
with the throwing-stick and throwing-strap that it found 

* Schweinfurth, Artes Africanae^ London, 1875, P^* ^ii* ^gs. 1-5. Consult 
also Lane Fox, Catalogue^ London, 1877, pp. 28-37, pi. ii. Compare 
Schweinfurth, I.e., pi. xviii. In this connection belongs the Hindu chakra, 
figured by Wood from Sir Hope Grant's collection. 


place. The brown Oceanic race as well as their negroid 
neighbours present it in its most primitive form as a long 
pole of hard wood sharpened at the end. The Persian 
jereed is a survival of a more serious implement, gone out of 
date now, but quite active in European wars down to the 
introduction of fire-arms. 

Sir Samuel Baker says : " Every man is a warrior, as the 
Baus are always at war. They are extremely clever in the 
use of the lance, which they can throw with great accuracy 
for a distance of thirty yards, and they can pitch it into 
a body of men at upward of fifty yards. From early child- 
hood the boys are in constant practice, both with the lance 
and the bow and arrow.'* * 

The Australians are also extremely clever at spear throw- 
ing. The most marvellous stories are told of their dexterity 
in this particular, as well as their coolness and agility in 
warding them off. 

" Another means of accelerating the flight of the javelin 
is by means of the Amentum^ or Ounep^ as it is called by the 
Melanesian islanders. This is a thong attached to the centre 
of the spear in which the forefinger is inserted, and like the 
throwing-stick enables the thrower to continue the impulse 
after the spear has left the hand. . . . The amentum was 
used by the Greeks and Romans, and is mentioned by 
Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, Livy, Pliny, and other ancient writers, 
and is figured on Etruscan vases ; it was called &yKu\ii by the 
Greeks." ^ The Melanesian ounep remains in the thrower's 
hand, and the amentum was fastened to the javelin shaft. 

In this same connection the student must not overlook 
the little brackets of ivory daintily carved and lashed to the 
shaft of Eskimo harpoons, great and small, used as " stops " 
for the gloved hand. Though on a hunting device the stop 
may just as well occur on a javelin. 

According to Potter, "The most common [engine] in 

* Ismailia, New York, 1875, P* '35* 

* Lane Fox, Catalogue, (Sr»<-., London, 1877, P* 4° » also Catalogue of 
Hambiirghy Ethnog. Mus. 


field engagements among the Greeks was a sling ; which we 
are told by some was invented by the natives of the Balearian 
Islands, where it was managed with so great art and dexterity 
that young children were not allowed any food by their 
mothers till they could sling it down from the beam, where 
it was placed aloft. Slings resemble a plaited rope, some- 
what broad in the middle, with an oval compass, and so by 
little and little decreasing into two thongs or reins. The 
manner of slinging was by whirling it twice about the head, 
and so casting out the bullet.*' ' 

In America the sling was used universally from Tierra del 
Fuego to the Arctic regions. And it is found diffused in 
Polynesia. Even in classic times it continued among the 
Greeks and Romans. It is not mentioned in Homer. But 
it was a common weapon among the Semito-Hamitic peoples, 
and among the Asiatic Aryans. Strutt does not know when 
it was introduced into England. Most of his illustrations 
show the slinger in pursuit of birds, but he speaks of the 
balistarius as a warrior. The order of invention seems to 
be the simple sling, then the fustibalus or staff-sling, and 
then the transfer of the missile to the stone bow, and the 
more effective arbalest. 

ThQ fustibalus^ or staff-sling, was a common sling attached 
to the end of a shaft and used for heavier stones. 

** This geaunt at him stones caste 
Out of a fel staf-slinge:'^ 

Tylor calls attention to the almost entire disuse of this 
weapon, but speaks of an interesting sur\'ival in the practice 
of the " herdsmen of Spanish America, who sling so cleverly 
that the saying is they can hit a beast on either horn and 
turn him which way they will.** 3 

Among the Maoris of New Zealand, Phillips encountered 
a dart thrower consisting of an elastic rod and a short lash, 

* ArUiq, of Greece^ vol. ii. bk. iii. ch. iv. p. 45. 

^ Chaucer, Sir Thopas^ vol. i. p. 118, in Century Dict^ with picture, 

3 Frimitiv^ Culture^ Boston, 1874, vol. i. p. 73. 


the whole resembling a whip. A knot in the end of the 
lash fitted into a notch in the shaft of the dart and the latter 
was propelled by holding the dart in the left hand after the 
string was in place and giving a sudden jerk with the rod 
held in the right hand. The same apparatus is familiar to 
boys in civilised lands. But in the olden days the Maoris 
launched their spears at a hostile pa [village] by means of a 
whip sling similar to the one described." 

The throwing stick mentioned among the hunting instru- 
ments was with the Mexicans an apparatus for warriors also. 
In the codices very many pictures are given of warriors 
hurling javelins by means of this apparatus. Furthermore, 
while the forms used by the Eskimo are right-handed and 
carved from a single piece of wood, those in the Mexican 
pictures are for either hand, and the finger-holes were in 
bits of raw-hide or leather attached to the side of the grip. 
The Australian spear-thrower is of the same sort, though of 
different form.^ 

A separate treatise could be devoted to the bow and the 
arrow as exhibiting the progress of mind in the use of an 
elastic spring down to the fifteenth century of our era. It 
cannot be asserted whether the spring trap or the spring 
weapon is older. The bow is fundamentally an elastic rod, 
with a bit of wood, or fibre, or cord for a bow-string. In 
many places savages have not got beyond the simplest 
form. In Africa, universally, owing to the keenness of the 
poisoned arrow points of iron, the bow is weak. The 
negroid peoples of the Indo-Pacific make strong bows of 
hard wood, and in the Malayan area bamboo is the material. 
The Andamanese for some reason give a sigmoid shape 
to the apparatus. As before mentioned, the pure Poly- 

' Coleman Phillips, Trans. N» Z. Inst., Wellington, 1877, vol. x. pp. 


^ List of authorities in Proc. U. S.Nat. Mus.y vol. xvi. pp. 219-222, figs. 
1-6. See also Science, New York, September, 1893, fo'" description of a 
Mexican example discovered by the author among the cliff dwellers of 


nesians had no bows, and the Australian forms are very 
rude. America and Asia are the home of this weapon. 
Commencing with the very plain form of the Fuegians and 
travelling northward to Point Barrow, the student would 
see the following types — 

1. The plain or "self" bow, made of the best material 
that each country furnishes, hard wood in the temperate 
regions and palm wood in the tropics. 

2. The sinew-lined bow of the United States west of the 
Rocky Mountains. This consists of a bow or frame work of 
yew, or other soft wood, on the back of which is plastered 
by means of animal glue a mass of finely shredded sinew. 
This is done so skilfully as to give the appearance of bark. 
The sinew must be glued down with the greatest care, to 
avoid weakness on the one hand and a backward breaking 
strain on the other. Seizings of sinew are frequently made 
at intervals to secure the backing. 

3. The composite bow, of the Plains Indians and of the 
Eastern Eskimo. These may be made of horn, antler, wood, 
or bone. The Sioux type consists of three pieces, the limbs 
of horn, the grip of wood, made in the shape of a Cupid's 
bow. These parts are held together by sinew twine and 
covered with skin to conceal the joints. The Eskimo type 
are ruder, and the joints are not concealed. Since the 
whaling times the parts are often riveted. In this north- 
land, material is scarce, and the compound bow may be 
constructed of bits of wrecks, old drift wood, whales* ribs 
or even of walrus ivory or baleen. The man who must 
have a bow is stimulated to a more complicated and highly 
organised apparatus in the scale of evolution by a more 
diversified condition of affairs in the natural world around 

4. The sinew-corded bow of the Eskimo. This type is 
found among the Western Eskimo, from Cape Bathurst all 
the way around to Kadiak on the Pacific ; and on the Asiatic 
shores near Behring Strait. The essential principle of this 
invention is by means of a cable of sinew, twine, or braid, to 


convert the breaking strain of a bit of drift wood into a 
columnar strain. In other words, it is to combine drift-wood, 
which is rigid and brittle, with sinew-cord, which is flexible 
and very elastic, so that the wood will supply the rigidity 
and the sinew the elasticity.^ The cord is laid on most 
ingeniously, and in passing from one limb to the other is 
secured by half-hitches, which act like a set of fingers clasp- 
ing the wood just where the greatest strain would come. 

For tightening and loosening the bow, small levers of 
ivory with notches on alternate sides at the ends are 
inserted in the cable on the back of the bow at the grip. 
These make a half turn and then are slipped back their 
length. After the cable or cables are wound they are kept 
from unwinding by a strap of raw-hide passed through the 
cable two or three times and made fast to the bow. The 
ivory levers are then withdrawn. 

The composite or built-up Asiatic bow does not in itself 
belong to savagery, yet it is the immediate result of com- 
pounding processes of primitive types. Indeed, the " Tatar " 
and the " Kung " bow of China are compounded of (i) the 
" self" bow as a base ; (2) the separate arms of the compound 
bow ; (3) the sinew backing or a substitute ; and (4) the cover- 
ing of snake-skin or bark or buckskin to conceal the joints. 
It is argued that this Tatar form of bow was in every-day 
use around the besieged city of Troy, and that the Scythians 
contributed this type to all the classic nations.^ 

The bows of the Monbuttoo are made of a species of 
Rotang, and are provided with a string of the same material, 
which is made and fitted on when the material is green. 
On the inner side of each bow is a piece of wood shaped 
like a weaver's shuttle and scooped out longitudinally 

' Murdoch, Rep, Smithsottlnst,, Washington, 1884, part ii. pp. 307-316, 
plates i.-xii. ; and Ninth, An, Rep, Bur, Ethnol,, Washington, 1892, pp. 
195-210, figs. 177-194. O. T. Mason, " Bows, Arrows, and Quivers of the 
North American Aborigines," Smithson, Rep,, 1893. Profusely illustrated. 

» Henry Balfour, "On the Structure and Affinities of the Composite 
Bow,"y. Anthrop, Inst,^ London, 1889, vol. xix. pp. 220-245, P^* v- ^^^ vi, 



toward the string. This not only serves as a protection for 
the hand against the recoil of the sharp-edged string, but as 
a receptacle for poison, to be used on the spot.* 

The bow has not been known as a weapon among the 
brown Polynesians in historic times. Its occurrence as a 
toy in one place and as a ceremonial object in another 
may point to prehistoric use, but the fact remains that, 
while the negroid peoples around them carried the arrow 
especially to a high degree of perfection, the brown race 
discarded the apparatus of the archer altogether .^ A type 
of bow from this area has a groove along the back, which 
would seem to be an element of weakness rather than of 
strength. By one it is alleged to be a survival of the crease 
in the bamboo bow, by Captain Cook as a place for the 
arrow, and by Moseley as a resting-place for a cord like the 
Eskimo sinew-backed bow.3 

As an arm or weapon the arrows of the Americans were 
of the simplest kind, consisting of shaft, feather, and head of 
stone. The last named was often barbed to prevent its 
being withdrawn. As to poisoning their arrows, there is 
conflicting testimony, with the preponderance against the 
systematic use of deadly substances : this remark is not true 
of the darts from the " blow- tubes." The collectors of 
American arrow-heads are wont to divide them into 
sagittate and lanceolate, alleging that the former were for 
men, the latter for beasts. This lacks confirmation, but the 
two styles of head did prevail widely. 

But, for refinement of cruelty that cannot possibly be 
surpassed, the war arrows of the negroid peoples take the 
lead, whether on the continent of Africa or in the Indo- 

* ScYiwcinfixrtht A r/es A/h'canae, London, 1875, pi. xix., fig. 23; pi. xx., 
fig. 7. Compare wrist guard of the Tinneh Indians, which is a bit of 
wood the shape of a bridge on a violin, attached to the bow and not to 
the shooter's wrist. 

= See the subject well worked out by E. Tregear, in /. Polynes, Soc,, 
1892, vol. i. p. 56. 

3 Balfour, y. Anthrop, Insty London, 1889, p. 241. 


Pacific isles. The Papuan and Fijian arrows are barbed 
with human bones, the thorns of the stinging ray, and 
every other diabolical thing that would serve the purpose. 
In Africa, with the recollection of some such prehistoric 
cruelty or in imitation of some murderous shrub, the black- 
smiths make ragged the heads of the arrows with thorn-like 
projections, which lacerate on entering the body, and which 
cannot be removed. 

"The arrows of the Monbutto have broad triangular and 
spatulate heads of iron, furnished along the shank with 
thorn-like barbs in endless variety. These are said to 
inflict at short distances much worse wounds than the sharp- 
pointed arrows. It is important to remember that all 
originally lanceolate heads acquire an obtuse or spatulate 
shape by repeated grinding." ^ 

Not all African arrows are feathered. The Monbutto 
feathering is produced by inserting a narrow strip of skin 
into a longitudinal slit at the base of the arrow, so that the 
long hair may protrude. The seizing is of bark. 

The Bongo arrow-shaft is of cane or cut out of a piece of 
wood, and made about as thick as the cane. The tang of 
the ragged head is inserted into the shaft, cemented and 
bound with bast. The nock is wrapped thickly with the 
same substance [Grewia mollis). The cane shafts are cut so 
as to have a knot near the head, to secure a break at that 
point and render the wound more dangerous. The bows 
are made of bamboo or tough wood, and the string is twisted 
from a vegetable fibre {Crotalaria cannahind),^ In poisoned 
arrows the tang of the head is wrapped between the ragged 
barbs with bast soaked in the juice of Euphorbia venefica, 

Makrigga is the name of a very thorny shrub (Randia 
dumetorum) which seems to have been in the eyes of the 
Bongo armourer as a model in making his jagged, and 
toothed, and thorned lance and arrow-heads. These thorns 
are produced on the corners of the quadrangular tang by 

' Schweinfurth, Artes Africanae^ London, 1875, p. xix. fig. 21. 
^ Ibid. , pi. vii. 


chiselling the metal in a red-hot state, and, considering the 
rudeness of the tools, cannot fail to excite the highest 
admiration. The shaft is of bamboo or light wood, and as a 
counterpoise to the head, it is set at the lower end with 
bands or spuds or wrappings of metal.^ 

Of the Mittoo and Madi arrows, Schweinfurth says, they 
are distinguished by the number and variety of the barbs, 
and manifest a truly diabolical ingenuity in the invention of 
means to render a wound as dangerous as possible. These 
heads, too, as in the Bongo arrows, are fastened by means of 
bast, just above a node in the cane, so as to make them 
break off* more easily and adhere to the wound. The tang 
is always four-sided, and the barbs, now shorter now longer, 
are cut out from the edges of this tang.^ The endless 
variety of these barbs would of course baffle any surgeon. 
The only redeeming consideration in the premises is that 
among peoples who take no prisoners of war, the more 
speedy death is the more beneficent. 

The blow-tube, called Zarabatana and Pucuna in the 
Western Hemisphere, and Sumpitan in Southern Asia, 
completes the series of projectiles. Its office is that of 
hunting rather than in killing men, and, therefore, a more 
detailed account of its manufacture and use will be found 
elsewhere (chapter viii.). 

The modern representatives of these implements are the 
fowling-piece on the one hand, which keeps up the old 
traditional function of bird slaying especially, and, on the 
other hand, the man-slaying series beginning with the pistol 
and ending with the rifle, cannon, and dynamite gun. 

Among hunting weapons, those for capture and retrieving 
occupy a prominent place. But in war, among savages 
especially, little ingenuity is expended on this point. It is 
true that the Australian lover steals upon his sleeping flame 
and twists his spear into her matted hair, just as the darkeys 
in the Southern States wind the opossum out of a hollow 
tree or steal cotton from the warehouse through a knot 

* Schweinfurlh, Aries Afncanae, London, 1875, pi. viii. ' Ibid., pi. x. 

fHH ART. OP^ WAR. 389 

hole. This is, however, a peaceable matter, though it 
frequently issues in bloody conflicts. The barbs on piercing 
weapons are not for retrieving the foe, but to ensure his 
death by preventing the withdrawal of the point. 

The use of poison was resorted to quite generally in 
savage warfare. Leaving the secret administration through 
treacherous and false friends to more cultured peoples, the 
primitive warrior did not hesitate to lay iht fatal dose on 
his cutting and especially upon his piercing weapons, De 

FlC. 74.— Elk-Skin Amiour, West Coast of America. 

Mortillet holds that prehistoric man was a poisoner. It is 
well known that the Botocudos of South America, the 
Bushmen in Africa, and the Negritos of Asia make up for 
their weakness in other regards by their insidious chemistry.' 
The defence of the body or of the home is quite as 
important to the warrior as his weapons. The history of 
invention as applied to war has been the record of alternate 
advances in this line, and in overcoming defence. The 

' Mortillet, " Empoisonnement des Armes," Rev. Mtns. <U FBiBle 
d'Antkrop., Paris, 1891, vol. i. pp. 9?-io6, 


Spaniards conquered the American natives simply because 
the bullet when it was discharged and did hit its mark 
would penetrate anything the Indians opposed to it, while 
the Spanish armour would resist the showers of arrows 
rained upon it. The English archers long discussed the 
question of laying their bows aside, because they could dis- 
charge three dozen deadly arrows while the arquebusier was 
getting his missile started. But for a long, long time the 
shaft had to go searching for the joints and weak places in 
the armour, while this new messenger of death opened its 
way through walls of steel. The Kingsmill and other 
islanders arm themselves with horrid rapiers and swords 
and battle-saws of cocoa wood, along the sides of which 
rows of sharks' teeth have been sewed. It makes one's 
blood curdle to look at them. But it is in precisely the 
same islands that the warrior arrayed himself in thick 
panoply of cocoa-nut fibre that would tear the teeth from 
these dreadful dogs of war whenever they came into conflict. 
A more detailed description of savage defensive armour will 
follow, the design here is to emphasize its importance in the 
current of invention. 

The American savages were acquainted with body armour 
when they were first encountered. Wherever the elk, the 
moose, the buffalo, and other great land mammals abounded, 
there it was possible to cover the body with an impervious 
suit of raw-hide. Such armour is to be seen in many 
museums. The Eskimo and his Asiatic neighbours shielded 
their bodies v/ith plates of ivory, and with armour made of 
encapsulated rings of raw-hide precisely after the style 
of the Japanese. Rods of wood laid parallel were woven 
together and fitted to the body by North American 
and Asiatic tribes. In Mexico cotton armour was worn. 
"Sometimes they went to war without any other pro- 
tection, but in most cases the warrior wore a frock of 
quilted cotton, about three-quarters of an inch thick up to 
one and one-half inches. This was the cotton armour 
subsequently adopted by the Spaniards under the name of 


Escuapil. Sometimes even the limbs were encased in such 
quilted protection, 

"Warriors of merit inserted their heads into wooden 
forms, intermediate between masks and helmets, imitating 
heads of ferocious beasts," ' 

Quite as important as the armour of the warrior was his 
shield, rendering him ambidextrous. Only those who have 
seen Australian savages using the parrying shield, or one of 
the American aborigines warding off arrows with his disc 
of raw-hide, have any conception of the efficiency of this 

from Californa (U S Nal Museum) 

apparatus. The general notion is of a target simply opposed 
to the arrows of the enemy, but this idea would be dissi- 
pated after seeing a Shoshoni and an Apache trying their 
best for twenty minutes at a range of only six feet to shoot 
an arroiv into each other's unarmed bodies. The knack 
and dexterity, the enormous energy put into the operation, 
excite the spectator to such a pitch that he forgets the 
element of death involved. 

■ Bandelier, Ttaii An. Rep. Ptabody Mus., Cambriilge, 1877, p. 109 [ 
Squiet, Nicaragua, vol. ii. p, 347; Dall, Third An. Rep. Bur. Elhnoh 
p. 93. D. Hough fint's Japanese greaves among T'lingit annour. 


The inhabitants of Drummond's Island, in the Kingsmill 
group, use a cocoa-nut club pointed at both ends for 
warding off* spears. The Hottentots warded off* stones with 
their kirri- sticks. The Dinka negroes use a club in the left 
hand to push aside the spears of the enemy. 

The shield, according to Lane Fox, was developed from 
the parrying-stick. The gradual widening of the stick or 
club in the centre, with the addition of a contrivance to 
cover the hand until at last the long narrow shield is 
produced, developed into the broad shield constructed to 
cover the body from the thrusts and missiles of an 

The Dinkas used parrying -sticks made of the wood of the 
Diospyrus mespiliformis. They are elongated spindle shape, 
the bulbous central portion being hollowed out, and having 
a grip for the hand. The Dinkas also use a parrying-bow, 
apparatus in vogue elsewhere, but often mistaken for an 
offensive weapon.'* There is a slight diff*erence between 
parrying and shielding. The one diverts the point of a 
flying missile and lets it go on ; the other receives it, arrests 
its momentum, and takes its blows. 

The ancient armourer among the Sioux made shields of 
the buff*alo hide, choosing the part over the neck and 
shoulders, because that was thick and tough. . After 
removing the hair by sweating the hide, he stretched the 
latter over a pit containing a mass of reeking coals. The 
heat shrunk the material, and made it hard and impervious 
to any arrow. The disc of raw-hide is common everywhere 
in the area of the great mammals, and worn on the left 
hand, it received the club, the arrow, or the slashing 

In the modern army nothing is more prominent than the 
flag, the standard, the corps badge or symbol. It was so in 
mediseval and classic times. The soldier fought about his 

* Cfi^ Lane Fox, Catalogue ^ p. 6. 

* Schweinfurth, Artes Africattae^ London, 1875, Sampson Low, pi. i., 
figs. 13-16. Cf, ^Qo^^ Africa^ fig. 11. 


standard, and sought no greater glory than to die with it 
folded in his arms. The savage had the same pride. His 
flag was his totem ; it was painted on his shield and on his 
body. He had a sign language which would reveal his 
clanship, even if he could not speak. When he went out 
in his canoe, there was no mistaking his affiliation. He had 
no banner that he held aloft, but every one who " ran could 
read " his brotherhood on both stern and bow of his war 

" The Polynesians in their war canoes had some distin- 
guishing badge of their district hoisted on a pole — a bird, a 
dog, a bunch of leaves. Land forces had certain marks on 
the body by which they knew their own party. It seems 
that this means of recognition could be changed from time 
to time, being blackened cheeks one day, marks on the 
breast another, and a shell suspended from the neck a 
third." ' This countersign is in contrast with the American 
Indian scheme, for the identification of the tribe and the 
clan was always by the same token. The Mexicans had 
their standards mounted on a staff, and bent in such a way 
to the shoulders of the bearer as not to hinder him from 
fighting, and yet it could not be captured without hacking 
him to pieces.^ 

Drill is also of great importance in keeping up the 
skill of modern armies. Of the Plains Indians Colonel 
Dodge says that they spend a considerable portion of their 
time in drilling. This applies especially to their history 
since they became possessed of horses, but the very same 
evolutions could be practised on foot. 

" There seems to be no fixed system of tactics, each chief 
instructing according to his own peculiar ideas. There 
are no ranks, no units of command, but there are words 
or signals by which the same evolutions are repeatedly 
performed. The whole band will charge en masse, and 

' Turner, Samoa, London, 1884, p. 191. 

* Icazbalceta, doc. i., Mexico, 1858, Torqtieniada, vol. i. p. 525 ; Zelia 
Nutlall, Anil, aiid Eth, Papers, Peabody Museum, vol. i. pp. lO, 1 1. 


without order on a supposed position of the enemy. At a 
word it breaks and scatters Hke leaves before a storm ; 
another signal, a portion wheels, masses, and dashes on a 
flank, to scatter at another signal. The plain is alive with 
circling, flying horsemen, now single, lying flat on the horse 
or hanging to his side, as if to escape the shots of a pur- 
suing enemy, and now joined together in a living mass of 
charging, yelling terror. 

'*The remarkable control of the chief is exercised by 
signals. Wonderful as it may seem, the orders are given 
on a bright day with a piece of looking-glass held in the 
hollow of the hand. In communicating at long distances 
their mode of telegraphing is equally remarkable. Both 
the signalling and telegraphing are modifications and exten- 
sions of their sign language. All are offspring of a neces- 
sity growing out of the constant wariness instant to a life 
of peculiar danger."^ 

All the operations of the Baris are conducted by signals 
given by the drum. In early morning, shortly before sun- 
rise, the hollow sound of the big drum is always heard 
giving the signal, by a certain number of beats, to milk the 
cows. The women and young men then commence, and 
when the operation is completed the drum beats again, and 
the large herds are driven to pasturage. The signal is 
repeated in the evening. Should an enemy attack the 
country the sheik's big drum gives the alarm by a peculiar 
series of beats. In a few seconds this alarm will be re- 
echoed by every drum throughout the villages.'' 

In Melville's Typcc^ recounting a four months' residence 
in the Marquesas, he tells of a primitive mode of signalling. 
" The word * botee ' was vociferated in all directions, and 
shouts were heard in the distance and growing louder and 
nearer at each successive repetition, until they were caught up 
by a fellow in a cocoanut tree a few yards off". This was the 

* Dodge, Plains of the Great JVest, New York, 1877, p. 369. 
= Sir Samuel Baker, hmdilia^ New York, 1875, P* ^34' Drum 
language is common both in Africa and Polynesia. 


vocal telegraph of the islanders, by which condensed items 
of information could be conveyed in a few minutes from the 
sea to their remotest habitation — eight or nine miles." ' 

The superstition which condemns every scalped warrior 
to annihilation is the primary cause of a drill peculiar to 
the Indians, namely, stooping from a horse going at full 
speed and picking up objects from the ground. At first, 
light objects are selected. These are exchanged for heavier 
and more bulky ones, until some individuals attain such 
wonderful proficiency as to pick up, while going at full 
speed, the body of a man and swing it across their 
horses. This is generally done by two men working in 
conjunction. 2 

Of the Mexicans Bandelier writes : " There were no 
regular times set for military practice, but every twenty 
days there occurred a religious festival, at which the 
warriors skirmished, showing and practising their skill in 
handling arms. . . . When in 1743 the tribe of Tlalilulco 
agreed upon attacking Mexico, they practised beforehand 
with as much secrecy as possible. Setting up posts of hard 
wood, they beat against them with their swords and clubs ; 
they sped arrows and threw darts at thick wooden planks ; 
and, lastly, they went out into the lake and shot at birds 
flying." 3 

Each group was its own quartermaster and commissary, 
partly carrying its subsistence, but for the most part 
relying on pillage. It has been said, indeed, that for the 
first time in the history of war the army of Frederick the 
Great was wholly independent of the country invaded. 
Likewise there was little need of quartermaster. Every 
warrior furnished his own tent, rolled himself in a robe 
of skin, and slept upon the naked ground, as hundreds of 
thousands of brave men have done in historic times. 

' Typee^ Harper Bros., 1852, New York, p. 119. The man in the tree 
for looking out and signalling was common in America. 

' Dodge, Plains of the Great West^ New York, 1877, p. 369. 

3 Bandelier, Tenth An. Rep, Peabody Mus,y Cambridge, 1877, p. loi. 


Transportation was on the backs of warriors, what little 
was needed, when the travelling was by land ; but on the 
water they fared better, for canoes were always at hand to 
transport both troops and equipments. It is easy to under- 
stand, therefore, that the more complicated methods of 
fighting were invented by peoples who possessed the means 
of water transport, and of preserving compact food. When 
there were no means of transportation the fight had to 
be brief, and consisted for the most part in a band of 
warriors falling upon unsuspecting enemies asleep, or en- 
gaged in some peaceful festivity. 

A " trail " is a succession of marks left on the ground by 
anything moving to a definite end, as a trail of troops, 
an Indian trail, a deer trail. Trailing, or following trails, is 
second nature to the Indian. He is taught from child- 
hood to read every mark on the ground, to tell what made 
it, its age, and all about it of interest or importance to 
himself. To these are added a thorough knowledge of the 
habits of animals of any kind, and a pair of eyes exqui- 
sitely sharpened by constant practice. 

When anticipating pursuit, the Indian will resort to all 
ruses, keep as much as possible on rocky ground, mount a 
high hill, only to go down again on the same side. Getting 
into the bed of a brook, he will keep along its channel for 
miles, going out and coming in again, doubling on his track. 

Indians travel by ** landmark." A good trailer will tell 
from the general appearance of the country what landmarks 
an Indian is travelling by. When the pursued resorts to 
ruses the pursuer loses no time in painfully tracking him 
through all his windings, but goes at once to where he 
thinks the Indian will pass. There he looks for the trail, 
and finding it, pushes on. The pursued may spend several 
hours in making a devious trail, which the astute pursuer 
will jump over in as many minutes.^ 

As a rule the Indian relies upon surprises, upon the effect 

^ Dodge. Plains of the Great West, New York, 1877, chap, xxxix. See 
the chapter in full. 


of a sudden and furious dash, accompanied with unearthly 
yells to demoralise his enemy and render him a sure prey. 
In this he has no superior, nor can he be excelled in the 
spirit with which he follows up a first successful effort, nor 
in the remorseless vigour of his pursuit of a flying foe. 

If two hostile bands nearly equal in number should meet 
on the plains a prolonged contest at long range is sure to 
ensue. This goes on until one party shows signs of weak- 
ness and gets away the best it can.^ 

The Indians never receive a charge, and very rarely meet 
one. When charged the portion immediately in front of 
the charging force breaks and melts into individual Indians, 
while the bands on either side close in to harass the flank 
and rear. The broken Indians, wheeling in circles, form on 
the flanks to attack and break again when charged. Should 
the attacking force become scattered its defeat and destruc- 
tion are almost sure.^ 

An excellent and detailed account of the apparatus and 
the processes of savage warfare, written by one who is 
thoroughly conversant with the language of the tribe about 
which he writes, is that of J. Owen Dorsey, on the war 
customs of the Omaha. No item of detail is omitted 
concerning the preparation This description includes the 
going out of small war parties, the start, the secret journey, 
and the method of procedure. It also embraces the setting 
out of large war parties, the feasting, the government of 
these, the order of march, the songs and dances and 
encampments, and the behaviour of those who stay at 

War was not carried on by the Siouan tribe as it was by 
the nations of the Old World. They had no standing 
armies, no general who holds office for life or for a given 
term. They had no militia ready to be called into the field 

* Dodigty Fiains of the Great West, New York, 1877, p. 371. 
' Ibid., chap. xxxv. The plan of campaign among the Indians is well 
worked out in this otherwise unfavourable book. 
3 Dorsey, Third An, Rep, Bur, Ethttol.y pp. 312-333 ill. 


by the government. Military service was voluntary in all 
cases, from the private to the commanders, and the war 
party was disbanded as soon as home was reached. They 
had no wars of long duration, in fact, wars between one 
Indian tribe and another seldom occurred, but there were 
occasional battles. This was for want of transport and 
compact food.^ 

When near a hostile town or in the vicinity of the spot 
where a meeting with the enemy was anticipated, the most 
profound silence and circumspection was observed. A 
sudden attack, a fearful succession of wild yells, an indis- 
criminate massacre, and the demolition by fire of the 
habitations of their enemies, and then a hasty return with 
captives and bloody trophies of the pillage and butchery, 
these constituted, as a general rule, the sum total of a suc- 
cessful military excursion. " Their manner of warres,** 
says Thomas Hariot, "among themselves, is either by 
sudden surprising one an other most commonly about the 
dawning of the day or moone light, or else by ambushes or 
some suttle deuises : Set battels are very rare, except it fall 
out where there are many trees, where eyther part may 
haue some hope of defence, after the deliuerie of euery- 
arrow, in leaping behind some or other." ^ 

Says the Gentleman of Elvas : " The Indians are so 
warlike and nimble that they have no fear of footmen, for if 
these charge them they flee, and when they turn their backs 
they are presently upon them. They avoid nothing so 
easily as the flight of an arrow. They never remain quiet, 
but are continually running, traversing from place to place, 
so that neither crossbow nor arquebuse can be aimed at 
them. Before a Christian can make a shot with either the 
Indian will discharge three or four arrows, and he seldom 
misses his object. Where the arrow meets with no armour 
it pierces as deeply as the shaft from a crossbow. Their 
bows are very perfect ; the arrows are made of certain canes, 

* Dorsey, Third An, Rep, Bur, Ethtiol,, p. 312. 

' A Brief e and True Report, ^c,^ Francoforti, 1590, De Bry, p. 25. 


like reeds, very heavy and so stiff that one of them, when 
sharpened, will pass thrdugh a target. Some are pointed 
with the bone of a fish, sharp, like a chisel; others with 
some stone, like the point of a diamond ; of such the greater 
number, where they strike upon armour, break at the place 
where the parts are put together ; those of cane split, and 
will enter a shirt of mail, doing more injury than when 
armed." ^ 

A public declaration of war was made by planting arrows 
along the pathway leading to the principal village of the 
enemy. They were also able, by means of ignited tufts of 
dried moss and grass attached to the heads of their arrows, 
to set fire to the thatched cabins located in the fortified 
towns of their ad\'ersaries.2 

Wherever thatched roofs or stockades were prevalent they 
were attacked by fire. The North American tribes were 
extremely careful to keep a good wide space burned away 
from their stockades or ditch banks. 

A custom existed among the Plains Indians when fighting 
called " giving the coupP When a foe has been struck 
down in a fight the scalp belongs to him who shall first 
strike the body with knife or tomahawk. This is the coup. 
If in a mtlee a warrior kills an enemy he, in order to secure 
his proper recognition and reward, must rush at once on the 
prostrate body and strike his coup. Otherwise, says Dodge, 
the enemy being in full flight, a brave and skilful warrior 
who presses on adding victim to victim, returns to find his 
scalps at the girdles of laggards.3 

The Andaman islanders are ignorant of the most 
elementary rules of warfare. Should a dispute arise, a 
general personal conflict ensues, after the manner of a 

* Narratives of the Career of Hernando dc Soto^ &^c,, trans. Bucking- 
ham Smith, New York, 1846, p. 26. 

^ Jones, Southern Indians^ New York, 1873, P* 'S, quoting Brevis Nar- 
ratio. Also Adair, Hist, of the American Indians ^ (Sr^f., London, 1775, 
p. 377, et seq. 

3 Dodge, Plains of the Great West, New York, 1877, P- 3^9. 


street brawl. The wounded are not cared for, and unless 
speedily removed receive the coup-de-grdce. They do not 
mutilate the slain. In case of more systematic attacks the 
assailants steal upon their enemies, availing themselves of 
natural cover, but they take no further precautions, or 
devise stratagems, to conceal their trail. The favourite 
time of attack is the break of day, when the enemy are 
asleep, or at a late hour, when they are at the evening meal. 
No captives are taken, except children, who are frequently 
carried oflf and adopted into the conquering tribe.' 

In Dyak warfare the men cluster around their chief and 
are indifferent to the fate of others so long as the chief 
escapes. Similarly relatives cluster together. They carry 
away the dead and wounded when possible, at least they 
sever the head and bury it in the forest. War is declared 
at a great feast, and the plan of campaign agreed upon. 
Notice to get ready is given by sending a spear around from 
village to village. The women prepare the bags of pro- 
visions, the men put the canoes in order. They take nets 
for fishing, and dogs for hunting by the way. The men 
furbish their arms, sharpen their weapons, and decorate 
their helmets and war jackets. As long as the men are 
away their fires are lighted on the small fireplaces just as if 
they were at home. The mats are spread and the fires are 
kept up till late in the evening, and lighted again before 
dawn, so that the men may not be cold. The roofing of 
the house is opened before dawn, so that the men may not 
lie too long, and so fall into the hands of the enemy. The 
omen birds are consulted. There is no attempt at order in 
going until the proposed landing-place is reached. A camp 
is then formed and guarded, the canoes are hauled up, and 
the neighbourhood explored. 

On a given day the march commences, each one shoulder- 
ing his pack and stepping out in Indian file — the guides 
ahead, and closely followed by a few of the hardiest, boldest, 
and most experienced men at their heels. This line reaches 
^ Andaman Islanders^ London, 1883, Triibner, p. 135. 


many a mile if the war party be a numerous one. Sur- 
prise, a sudden rush, fire created by javelin torches hurled 
into the thatch, and bloody duels for heads, constitute the 

The defence of the Dyak consists in palisades, wattle, and 
chevaux de /rise of spiked bamboo. The waterside, the 
landing-places, and the paths leading to the villages, as well 
as the foot of each ladder, are all spiked. Pits are also dug 
in the pathway. Women and treasures are concealed on 
the hills and in the forests. Decoys and ambushes, blockades 
of streams and paths by falling trees are commonly resorted 
to.' A careful study of this description reveals the entire 
art of war in embryo. It will be noticed that only time 
and distance, as well as the complexity of apparatus and 
methods have been modified as the world progressed. The 
art of fortification and annoyances to marching were well 
developed by the Dyaks. And this brings us to consider 
that matter. 

In Samoa there was in each district a certain village 
called the "advance troops." It was their province to take 
the lead in fighting. The boundary between villages was 
the battle-field. Women and children were moved off. 
Wives of chiefs often went to the field, carrying their clubs 
or some part of the armour. The chiefs and heads of families 
united in some central spot, and whatever they decided on 
the young men endeavoured to carry out. Stockades were 
thrown around the villages where war parties were assem- 
bled. Their favourite tactics were of the surprise and bush 
skirmishing orders. " Their heroes were the swift of foot, 
like Achilles or Asahel ; men who could dash forward 
towards a crowd, hurl a spear with deadly precision, and 
stand for a while tilting off with his club other spears as 
they approached him, within an inch of running him 
through." 2 

* Ling Roth, Low's "Natives of Borneo." J, Anthrop* Jnsi,^ London, 
1892, vol. xxii. pp. 52-59. 
^ Turner, Samoat London, 1884, chap. xvii. 



Schultze says that the Australians of South Finke river 
murder their enemies by stratagem, waiting and spying them 
by night.' 

This is the testimony of the best observers concerning 
warfare among the lowest people everywhere. Living from 
hand to mouth, and lacking social organisation and drill for 
any purpose, the men must contend single-handed, and the 
fight must be bloody and brief. 

In addition to the weapons of defence and offence among 
savages, for the single warrior, there began to be devised, 
even in primitive times, appliances of the same sort for the 
corps, the family, the village, the tribe, in short, community 
offence and defence, especially the latter. 

As we have seen, men went out in squads against squads, 
by concerted action set fire to villages, and on the water 
they manoeuvred their fleets of war canoes. The action 
in such cases is co-operative, organised life against the same. 

However, savages have few engines of attack on laml. 
But this lack is atoned for by their land defences. There 
are tribes so low down as not to wear any personal defen- 
sive apparatus, but none who do not know how to protect 
their villages by means of some kind of stockade or platform 
or earth wall. In some places, as we have seen, they set up 
ugly splinters in the paths. 

There was not a scheme for entrapping animals that was 
not improved upon to catch the unwary foe. Especially in 
sedentary tribes the permanent villages were made difficult 
of approach. 

The mediaeval caltrop and the modern abattis are quite 
anticipated and surpassed by the Dyak tukah and ranjan* 
This device is simply a strip of bamboo, large or small, as 
the occasion demands, sharp at both ends, and stuck in the 
ground wherever an enemy may be passing. Around 
villages the whole chevaux de frtse is thus constructed* 
Every pathway, lancjing-place, and the foot of each ladder 
is thus guarded. In the shallow beds of streams these 
* Schultze, Trans. Roy, Soc* S, AusiraL, 1891, Vol. xiv. p. 2ai. 



dreadful splinters are set up to impale the feet of the men 
who have to tumble out of the canoes to haul them over the 

The Mango negroes, on the Maringa river, Africa, set up 
slender bits of bamboo about fifteen centimetres long in 
their path to cover a retreat. They always carry an abun- 
dance of these with them, and when they have to flee they 
dip the sharp ends of the splints in poison, making a shallow 
cut around to enable them to be easily broken. The pur- 
suers thrust their naked limbs against the poisoned points 
and are severely wounded.^ They choose strategic points 
for their villages, where bluffs or marshes or watercourses 
will shield them from sudden attack. In every condition of 
land surface and natural resources, new inventions meet 
changing conditions. The American savages were especially 
ingenious in this regard. Here their villages were located 
near some spring of water, and surrounded by a fence of logs 
set close together on end, and pierced at intervals for 
archers. At the base of the stockade the earth was heaped 
up to increase the security. In another place a bluflf or 
tongue of land, with precipitous sides, was rendered more 
secure by a continuous fence or wall of stone extending for 
miles. At the opening of these fortifications on the land 
side were ramparts and gateways covered by mounds of 
earth, so that an enemy would be compelled to enter single 
file. Not far away, on prairie lands, huge mounds were 
erected with steep sides, to whose tops the people could fly 
in hours of danger, while in the south-west of the United 
States great communal houses were built with outer walls 
solid. Entrance was by ladders to the first stage, whence 
the people descended into the ground floor or ascended to 

* Ling Roth, Low's "Natives of Borneo," y. Anthrop. lust,, London, 
1892, vol. xxii. p. 59. 

* Allaire, Ann, de la Prop. /. Loif Paris, 1892, No. 389, p. 2631 
Excellent portrait of native, p. 262, The Rev. O. F. Cook brought to the 
United States National Museum baskets containing hundreds of thjBse 
** path-splinters " from the Gola and Mandingo area in West Africa* 


the stories above. Besides these, pueblos were frequently 
erected on the extremity of a mesa, where nature had built 
up an indefinite number of stories below. If the same good 
friend also provided a canopy of mountain above, the 
inhabitants had only to lay oflf the pueblo on some shelf or 
cave floor and they were secure from marauders. The log, 
or living tree stockade, the fortified bluff, the refuge mound, 
the cliflf dwelling, the pueblo once invented, it is only neces- 
sary to replace the elements of their composition with more 
durable material, or with more elaborate details to write 
the history of fortification. The more civilised Mexicans 
and Central Americans and Peruvians wrought in stone the 
same ideas, for until 1492 nothing more deadly than an 
arrow, or a javelin, or a club, or a stone-bladed sword or 
battle-axe, had ever assailed human life in the western 

The Veiburi people, in British New Guinea j owing to 
incessant raids made upon them^ were compelled to estab- 
lish themselves on the bank of a stream in the midst of high 
and large trees ; here the village was constituted of two 
houses on the surface and eleven in trees. These aerial 
dwellings are constructed in the highest trees, one hundred 
feet above the ground, and approached by means of almost 
perpendicular ladders, constructed of long spliced saplings 
lashed eighteen inches apart by cross-bars at every fifteen 
inches. These houses, supplemented by detached platforms, 
are stocked with food and weapons of defence, and constantly 
occupied by their owners, who are so intimidated by the 
raids of their slayers that they leave their dwellings no 
longer than they can possibly help for procuring food.* 

This tree fortress is a tropical device. In those portions 
of Guiana and Venezuela where the ground is submerged a 
portion of the year, the natives naturally escape to the trees, 
have developed an arboreal life, and find their only needed 
defence therein. The latter country received its name 

' Thomson, In British New GtUnea^ London, 1892 Philip, &c., p. 51, 
excellent fig. on p. 52. 



from the circumstance of the natives living on what the 
navigators called piles. 

The best'known example of water defence was the pile 
structures of Southern Europe and Switzerland in prehistoric 

The Polynesian places of defence were rocky fortresses 
improved by art — narrow defiles or valleys sheltered by 
projecting eminences — passes among the mountains difficult 
of access, yet allowing their inmates a secure and extensive 
range and an unobstructed passage to some spring or stream. 

Sometimes the natives cut down trees and built a kind of 
stage or platform, projecting over an avenue ; upon this 
they collected piles of stones and fragments of rock, which 
they hurled down on those by whom they were attacked.* 

The Kyans, of Borneo, when they make a camp, strew 
dead leaves outside the fence, so that no one, not even a 
dog, can approach without being heard. Punans make 
their camp in a circle, each hut facing a different direction, 
so as to prevent surprise.* 

The Hawaiians had a curious contrivance to protect the 
house from invasion. No locks were known. A heavy 
stone was suspended over the door in such a way that a 
person entering after the trap was set would probably be 
crushed to death.3 

The fate of the captive in the wars of savages is intimately 
connected with four words of awfully ominous import in 
history — torture, cannibalism, slavery, and sacrifice. 

The American Indian was addicted sparingly to cannibal- 
ism. Slavery in the Pacific region and torture in the 
eastern slope was the usual fate of the captive. Sacrifice, 
as will be seen, is a higher idea, and had its evolution after 
slavery. " The Indian," says Dodge, " does not claim to do 
murder in the name of his religion. He does it because he 

* Ellis, Polynes. Res.^ vol. i. p. 313. 

^ Ling Roth,y. Authrop, Insi.^ London, 1892, vol. xxii. p. 56, 

^ Cat. Bishop Mus.f Honolulu, 1892, vol. ii. p. 32, 


likes it, because his savage instincts and vindictive temper 
impel him to it." ' 

But this would hardly satisfy the modern ethnologist. In 
the Indo- Pacific, where large mammals were unknown, 
cannibalism was pre-eminent. Africa developed slavery, 
with the other ideas of secondary importance. Americans 
were most gifted in torture, with outcroppings of the other 
ideas. The sacrifice of human victims to the gods, to serve 
them as food, or as objects of vengeful torture, or as slaves 
to wait on them, must in any event succeed the acts which 
it apotheosises. The fact remains that torture and canni- 
balism and slavery and sacrifice had their roots in savagery, 
and their most refined diflferentiations were then developed. 

War was carried on in Mexico largely for the procurement 
of human victims, their religion demanding human sacrifices 
at least eighteen times a year. Every important event, like 
an improvement of the " teocalli, and especially the installa- 
tion of a new war chief of the highest degree, had to be 
celebrated by a special butchery of men — and these victims 
had to be obtained through war. Therefore the well-known 
Mexican custom on the battle-field, to look more to the 
capture than to the slaying of their foes." ^ 

" Some of the men of Beit ^Abdel Hady had attacked the 
villages south-east of Carmel, had burnt the houses and 
driven oflf the cattle and flocks. But what most excited the 
wrath, especially of the women in that region, was the 
report that the raiders had abused and even killed women 
and children. During the civil wars that desolated Lebanon 
in 1 841 and again in 1845, women were not molested even 
in the heat of battle. I have repeatedly seen those of both 
parties hastening with jars of water for the relief of their 
friends who were either wounded or suffering from thirst, 
and they were neither insulted nor molested." 3 

" In the French and Indian wars of North America," says 

' Our Wild Indians y Hartford, 1883, p. 524. 

= Bandelier, Tenth An, Rep, Peabody Mus.^ Cambridge, 1877, p. 128. 

3 Thomson, The Land and the Book^ vol. ii. p. 167 


Ellis, "the custom which soon came in, to soften the atro- 
cities of Indian warfare by the holding of white prisoners for 
ransom, was grafted upon an earlier usage among the natives 
of adopting prisoners, or captives/' " In their earlier 
conflicts with the whites, the Indians generally practised 
indiscriminate slaughter. ... In the raids of the French 
with their Indian allies, upon the English settlements 
prisoners taken on either side came gradually to have the 
same status as in civilised warfare, and to be held for 
exchange." ' 

The war paraphernalia of nations still absorb a large part 
of their industries and their genius. As one examines with 
great care the armoured war-ships, the built-up guns on 
pneumatic carriages, the elaborate fortifications, it strikes 
him that the world has gone a long way from the Polynesian 
war canoe, the Carib pucuna^ and the mound-builders' work 
in the Ohio valley. But we can but marvel at the voyages 
of the Polynesians, the cleverness of the built-up blow-tube, 
and the astounding patience displayed in the erection of 
fortifications by hand, containing millions of cubic feet of 

The way in which war is engendered and determined 
upon, the preparations and precautions therefor, the appa- 
ratus used by land and by water, the actual conflict, the 
atrocities and cruelties, the conduct after the engagement, 
all these are foreshadowed so far in savagery as often to be 
characterised as among its relics. The best schools even 
now charge high for tuition, and war has been a costly 
teacher of men. It seems almost to have been necessary 
in the pioneer days of human struggle, when beasts and 
men were arrayed to decide thus who should be master. 

In looking through the museums of Europe and America 
for the material proofs of inventive genius, the student finds 
no other class of objects more highly organised for the 
co-operation of intelligent action. In the refinement of 

' (i. E. Ellis, in Windsor, Narr, and CriL Hist.^ Boston, vol. i. pp. 287, 


the thought involved, in the growing complexity of the 
mechanical elements and their movements, in the co-ordina- 
tion of great numbers of men, in the material and political 
and ideal rewards or ends to be attained, war, at least in 
primitive times, stands forth pre-eminently as an incite- 
ment to the genius of invention and discovery. 



The principles I have sought to illustrate in this book may 
be briefly summed up. 

Invention is indigenous in the nature of man. The first 
being on this earth worthy of that name was an inventor. 
The only moment in the life of an individual or a people in 
which the distinction of true humanity may be worthily 
bestowed on them is that in which something new is added 
to the stock of knowledge or experience. When men or 
nations originate they live and grow ; when they cease to 
do that they decay and die. This has been true from the 

Invention is stimulated by human wants for : — 

1. Food, nourishment of all kinds. 

2. Shelter for the person, or clothing. 

3. Shelter for the family, or habitation. 

4. Rest, recuperation. 

5. Locomotion on land and on the water. 

6. Delight of the senses. 

7. Knowledge, the explanation of phenomena. 

8. Social enjoyment, leading to co-operative life in many 

9. Spiritual satisfaction. 

From this point of view inventions are not only things, 
but languages, institutions, aesthetic arts, philosophies, creeds, 

and cults. 



All invention is based on change :— 

1. In the materials and thing invented. 

2. In the apparatus and processes employed, 

3. In the mind of the inventor. 

4. In society. 

This change is in both structure and function, and pro- 
ceeds from simple to complex and compound in all the 
particulars named above. It is also always a change from 
the natural to the artificial, as Payne has well emphasized 
in his History of America, The true destiny of man is to 
subdue the earth, and to dress and to keep it. 

The changes in things or in the powers and results 
of inventions have followed some such law of evolution 
as the following : — 

1. In most primitive life inventions were natural objects 
unchanged in form or material used for their natural 
function, as thorns for piercing, or teeth of rodents for 

2. Natural objects slightly modified in structure to better 
their performance of the same function, as the same things 
hafted and sharpened. 

3. Natural objects little changed in form to perform a 
new or different function, as stones for hammers, sticks for 

4. Natural forms or structures copied in a variety of 
materials for a multitude of functions, as gourds imitated in 
wood, basketry, and clay. 

5. Natural objects or materials changed in form to per- 
form a diversity of functions. This is the most prolific 
series, and has been ever growing in complexity. 

6. Change of motive power, as man, elastic spring, 
weight, beast, wind, running water, steam, chemical and 
electric power. 

7. Imitation of human activity by machinery. 

8. Multiplication of man's power through mechanical 
powers, as the inclined plane, wedge, roller, wheel, wheel 
and axle, pulley and screw. 


9. Co-operative apparatus, demanding a corps of men and 
performing more than one function. 

Psychical changes include the following series : — 

1. Perception, noticing the relation of cause and effect in 
the natural world, and making up the mind to produce the 
same results with the same means. 

2. Happy thought, imagining that the same result may 
be differently achieved. 

3. The combination of mental activities, discovering re- 
lation of one invention to another, resulting in machines. 

4. Purposeful invention for its own sake ; predetermined 

5. Co-operative invention. 

The change of reward has been from individual to inter- 

I. Beginning with a man making an invention, manu- 
facturing it with his own hands, and putting it on the 
market, granting himself letters patent and exclusive 
use for life, gaining to himself the highest pleasures and 
applause in the world, and being apotheosised at death. 

Z, Ending with a world-involving and world-benefiting 
invention like the telephone, in which the inventor is 
enriched and all mankind brought into relation through 
one central office of thought. 

This evolution is from immediateness to remoteness ; from 
materiality to ideality ; from individuality or personalism to 
plurality or sociality ; from egoism to altruism. 

The change in society has been along the same lines. 

1. The ability to fish, hunt, glean, build, weave for more 
than one person made social groups possible. 

2. The differentiation of special activities created centres 
of activity. The first activities carried the actor to the 
source of material supply, mineral, vegetal, animal. The 
last and highest activities takes the natural supply to great, 
artificial centres of invention and co-operative machinery, 
from the natural source to the artificial civic centre. 

At once it will be seen that this group of social eflfecta 


is the result of inventions in all sorts of apparatus and 
machinery, and pari passu men have invented languages, 
organisations, cities, international exchanges, and laws. 
Society has invented itself. 

In each culture-area of the earth such styles of invention 
have been elaborated as to confer upon the people thereof 
their local or tribal traits. The doings and sayings and 
even the bodily appearance of the peoples of the earth are 
composite photographs of all that they have been thinking 
out along the paths or contours laid down by nature. 

Finally, in contemplating the exalted position to which 
acquired knowledge and experience have brought the 
favoured race, we are apt to forget how many have helped 
to place them there. The many patents and inventions 
now on the earth are only a "handful to the tribes that 
slumber in its bosom." 

It is a well-established fact in biology that the humblest 
creature is just as important a link in the chain of creation 
as the highest mammal. The higher forms are so well 
known, and so little has been found out concerning some of 
the more lowly creatures, that the naturalist is very glad to 
leave the ninety and nine and go into the- wilderness to seek 
the one that is lost. 

The devices of pristine man are the forms out of which 
all subsequent expedients arise. The fire-sticks of savages are 
the earliest form of illumination by friction. The tribulum 
is the modern thresher with stone teeth. The kaiak fur- 
nishes the lines of the swiftest racing boats. The sewing- 
machine makes no new loops. Warfare is still cutting, 
bruising, or piercing. All art lines and geometry were born 
in savagery. Society even can never change in organisa- 
tions and motives. Our most precious maxims antedate 
literature. The whole earth is full of monuments to name- 
less inventors. 



Ailair, loi 

Allison, S. S., 307, 343 
Anderson, Temptsl, 29 
Atkinson, J, J., 161 
Austen, S2 

Bakei, Sir 5., 14, 65, 8z, 115, 138, 

Balfaui, II., tSo, 385 
Bancroft, 20, 220, 256 
Uandelier .568, 375, 39I 
Bartels, M. 203 
Best, E., 369 

Boas, 60, 363, 267, 2S6, 354 
Boiman, 304 
Brighom, 55, 90, 107, 302, 337, 

Brinton, D. G., 71 

Candolle, De, 1S5, 195 
Can, L., 201 
Collinson, 103 
Comslock, T. B., 261 
■Conant, L. L., 66 
Cook, O. F., 87 
Coville, 43, 187, 189, 337 
Crofful, W. A., 344 
Gushing, 71, 73, 136, 156, 161, 173, 

Dall, 391 

Darwin, 314 

Denby, 346 

Dodge, 272, 377, 394. 399 
Dursey, J. O., 69, 83, 109, 290, 

368, 397 
Duncan, 86 
Dureau, 323 
Eagle, 1'. II., 103 
Elliott, H., 63 
Ellis, H., 357 
Kllb, W., 45, 51, 74, 104, loS, 

'84,1931217-222, 226. 250, 394, 

Emerson, N. B., 2zi, 
Evans, .Sir /., 40, 137 
Faurot, 244 
Fewkes, 74 
Fornander, 361 
Fraier, J. G., 119 
Goodale, 190 
Goode, G. B., 264, 300 
Goodfellow, G.,86 
Urieabach, in 



:, 72, 96, 100, 146,' 205, : 

Hind, 210, 303 

Hodge, F. W., 73 

Holmes, W. H., 125, 151, 

o, 165, 182, 234, 253 
Hornaday, 295, 351 



Hough, W., 55, 87, 90, 116 
Hudson, W. H., 262 

Kalm, 39, 195, 212 
Klemm, 9, 18 

Lacouperie, 118, 323 
Lafitau, 26, 39 
Le Bon, 22 
Lewis, A. L., 83 

Livingstone, 79, in, 195, 245, 304 
Lubbock, Sir J., 24, 31, 85, 148, 

Man, E. H., 23, 31, 33, 52, 66, 

loi, 105, 137, 161, 234 
Mason, O. T., 36, 45, 65, 137, 228, 

257, 272, 287 
Matthews, 37, 69, 74, 112, 247, 256, 

McGuire, J. D., 26, 138, 142, 148 
Mindeleff, V. , 99, 201 
Mitchell, Sir A., 29 
Modigliani, 168 
Moorehead, W. K., 137 
Morelet, 16, 50, 331, 345 
Morgan, M. H., 84, 87, 99 
Moriillet, 204 
Morton, 204 
Murdoch, 36, 59, 92, 96, 135, 269, 

286, 376 

Newberry, 190 
Nuttall, Zelia, 252, 393 

Ordinaire, O., 96, 105, 317 

Palmer, E., 192 

Payne, 17, 79, 186, 204, 353 

PhiUips, C, 382 

Pitt-Rivers, 279, 287, 335. 37 ly 37 3^ 

Planck, 99 

Porter, J. H., 259, 301 
Putnam, 49 

Rau, 36, 148, 292 
Reclus, £lie, 119 
Reynolds, no 

Ridgway, W., 68 
Rockhill, 244 
Rossignol, 321 

Roth, Ling, 74, 186, 196, 203, 212, 
223, 282, 302, 401 

Sagard, 43 
Satow, E., 77 
Schultze, 403 

Schweinfiirth, 23, 39, 47, 52, 57, 
71,95, III, 143, 167, 201, 286, 

310, 347 
Sellers, 182 
Shand, A., 150 
Shaw, J., 77 
Sibree, 217 
Smith, R. B., 90 
Snyder, 213 
Spicer, 23 
Squier, 351 
Stearns, 71 
Strachey, W., 200 
Sturtevant, 19O 

Theobald, A. G., 87 

Thomson, 62, 79, 80, 198 

Thresher, 312 

Thurn, E. im, 43, 51,. 61, 94, 97, 

209,211, 243, 364 
Tregear, 67, 87, 371, 386 
Tristram, 299 
Trotter, 71 
Turner, L., 46 
Turner, W., 27, 55, 67, 87, 109, 

215, 223, 228, 378 
Tylor, 31,76, 355, 381 

Wake, C. S., 21 

Wallace, A. W., 57, 69, 90, 185, 

209, 308 
Watkins, 81 
Whymper, 40, 345 
Wilkinson, 48, 202 
Wittich, 27 
Wood, 48, 289 


Adze, 47 

Algonkian Indians, 46, 229 

Andamanese, 33, 52, 66, loi, 104, 
I37> 167, 234, 243, 277, 399 

Animals, war on, 258 et seq, ; do- 
mestication of, 291 et seq. 

Anointing oil, 5 1 

Apaches, 27, 43, 156 

Armour, 390 

Arrow, 206, 271 

Art, primitive, 143 

Australians, 38, 103, 212, 380, 402 

Axe, 47, 141 > 375 
Aztecs, 70 

Balance, the, 68 
Bark, uses of, 210, 225 
Bellows, the, 97, in 
Basketry, 228 et seq. 
Blow-tube, 208, 277, 377, 388 
Boats, 210 et seq., 355 et seq. 
Bolas, 288 

Bongo, 39, 57» 7i» 95, I". 387 
Boomerang, 378 
Bow and arrow, 270, 382 et seq. 
Bridges, 349 

Calabashes, 51 

Calendars, primitive, 72 

Cannibalism, 407 

Canoes, 210^/ seq. 

Caribs, 166, 221 

Carpenter, the primitive, 214 

Carriers, 340 et seq. 

Cat, domestication of, 322 

Celt, the, 141 

Cements, 43 


Chimney, invention of, 98 
China, 116, 118 
Chisel, 47 

Clocks, primitive, 117 ^' 
Cloth, 225 et seq. 
Club, 265, 372 et seq. 
Commerce, beginnings of, 364 
Copper, art of, 1 10 
Coracle, 363 
Corn-grinders, 77 
Cradles, 235 et seq. 
Curfew, 99 

Decoration, of pottery, 173 ; of tex- 
tiles, 253 

Decoys, 310 

Delaware Indians, 39 

Digging-stick, 190 

Dinkas, 207, 392 

Dog, domestication o.G 261, 317 
et seq. 

Drill, the, 54 

Drilling in war, 393 

Drum, 207, 394 

Dyaks, 196, 202, 211, 223, 282, 
292, 401 

Dyes, 226, 255 

Education of Indian, 16 

Embroidery, 252 

Engineering, primitive, 81 

Engraving, 50 

Eskimo, 23, 35, 40, 45, 53, 57, 60, 
77y 91, 95, 102, 109, 134, 146, 
154, 232, 242, 263, 267, 283, 353, 
357, 390 

Fire, invention and uses of, 84 et seq. 




Fishing, 280 et seq. , 292 et seq. 

Flail, 40 

Foods, vegetable, 186 

Forge, primitive, 112 

Fortification, 402 

Fuegians, 42 

Furnace, primitive, ill 

Genius as knack, 26 
Glue, 42 
Granaries, 201 
Greenlanders, 44 
Grindstone, 52 
Gripping tools, 56 
Guiana Indians, 51, 60, 63, 94, 208, 
211, 214, 228, 242, 328 

Haftings, 36 

Haidas, 57, 146, 179 

Hammer, 53, 143 

Harpoon, 284 

Harvesting, primitive, 196 

Hawaiians, 55, 67, 90, 107, 202, 

221, 226, 252, 355 
Hide, uses of, 41, 57 
Hoe, 195 
Hook, 281 
Hunting, 273, 388 
Hurons, 43 

Illumination, 106 

Invention, definition of, 13 ; among 

animals, 14 
Irrigation, 78 

Jade, working of, 26 

Javelin, 379 

Joiner, the primitive, 213 

Kaffirs, no 

Khasi Hill tribes, 82 

Knives, 44, 265 

Lamp, 155 
Lasso, 287 

Lever, 65 
Loom-weaving, 245 

Machinery, evolution of, 75 

Malays, 36, 90 

Maoris, 67 

Matting, 228 et seq. 

Measurement, standards of, 66 et 

seq,, 116 
Medicine, primitive, 203 
Megalithic monuments, 82 
Metallurgy, early, ill et seq. 
Meteorology, primitive, 74 
Metrology, primitive, 68 
Millers, early, 138 
Modelling, 169 
Moki Indians, 74 
Money, primitive, 71 
Monbutto, 47, 387 
Mortar and pestle, 139 
Mound-builders, 157, 179 

Navajo, 37, II2, 117, 156, 31a 

Navigation, 355 

Needle, 248-9 

New Caledonians, 109, 161 

Niam Niam, 52 

Nias, 68 

Nicobarese, 75, 161 

Omaha Indians, 83, 108 

Painting, 51 
Patagonians, 289 
Patent, the primitive, 15-16 
Peruvians, 68 

Plants, primitive uses of, 183 
Plough, 191-5 

Polynesians, 41, 45, 58, 74, 86, 105, 
116, 150, 193. 221, 239, 245, 249, 

361, 375» 393 
Potter's art, IS2 et seq. 

Potter's wheel, 75, 161 

Printing, 169 



Pueblo Indians, 39, 98, 109, 112, 

156, 201 
Pulley, 61 

Sago manufacture, 185 

Sago palm, 209 

Samoans, 55, 89, 214, 222, 293 

Saw, the savage, 47 

Sennit, 41, 241 

Sewing, 234 

Shans, 77 

Shears, 45 

Shoe, evolution of the, 327 

Shoshonean Indians, 42, 136, 186 

Sledge, 353 

Sling, 381 

Smelting, 11 1 

Smith, the primitive, 57 

Spindle, 76 

Spinning, 239 ei seq. 

Spoon, shell, 39 

Stilts, 331 

Stone- working, izi et seq. 

Sword, 375 

Tally sticks, 66 

Tapa, 226 

Teeth as tools, 57 

Textile industry, 224 et seq. 

Threshing, 197 

Throwing stick, 287, 377 

Time, measurement of, 116 

T'lingit Indians, ^^ 179, 232 

Tools, 33 ei seq. 

Trade, primitive, 364 

Trailing, 396 

Traps, 299 et seq. 

Travel and transportation, 325 et seq,^ 

Ulu, 45, 266 

Vice, the, 56 

War, art of, 366 et seq. 

Weapons, 370 et seq. 

Weaving, 228 et seq. 

Wheel, the primitive, 62 

Wheel and bucket, 80 

Whetstone, 52 

Whorl, 77 

Wicker work, 230 

Wind, utilisation of, 78 

Woman's work, 52, 58, 60, 62, 79, 
83, 96, 108, 135, 137, I55» I57r 
161, 166, 168, 186, 196, 224, 228, 
238, 242, 244, 253, 257, 266, 275, 

277, 335. 378 
Wrench, $8 

Yam cultivation, 193 

Zuiii Indians, 72, 75, 156, 173, 195, 
230, 247, 307 








Printed on large paper of extra quality^ in handsome binding^ 

Demy ZvOy price ^i.oo each. 


Life of Jane Austen. By Goldwin Smith. 

" Mr. Goldwin Smith has added another to the not inconsiderable roU 
of eminent men who have found their delight in Jane Austen. Certainly 
a fascinating book." — Spectator, 

Life of Balzac. By Frederick Wedmore. 

*'A finished study, a concentrated summary, a succinct analysis of 
Balzac's successes and failures, and the causes of these successes and 
failures, and of the scope of his genius. ^^ ^-Scottish Lecuier, 

Life of Charlotte Bronte. By A. Birrell. 

" Those who know much of Charlotte Bronte will learn more, and those 
who know nothing about her will find all that is best worth learning in 
Mr. Birreirs pleasant book." — St.James^ Gazette, 
Life of Browning. By William Sharp. 

'* This little volume is a model of excellent English, and in every respect 
it seems to us what a biography should be." — Public Opinion, 

New Vork : Charlrs Scribnrr'3 Sons. 

Lfife of Byron." Bv Hon. Roden Noel. 

"He (Mr. Noel) has at any rate given to the world the most credible 
and comprehensible portrait of the poet ever drawn with pen and ink." — 
Manchester Examiner, 

Life of Bunyan. By Canon Venables. 

" A'most intelligent, appreciative, and valuable memoir." — Scotsman. 

Life of Bums. By Professor Blackie. 

** The editor certainly made a hit when he persuaded Blackie to write 
about 'Bartis"'^Fa/i Mali Gazette, 

Life of Thomas Carlyle. By R. Gamett, LL.D. 

''This is an admirable book. Nothing could be more felicitous and 
fairer than the way in which he takes us through Carlyle*s life and works." 
—A// Mall Gazette. 

Life of Coleridge. By Hall Caine. 

" Brief and vigorous, written throughout with spirit and great literary 
skilL " — Scotsman, 

Life of Congreve* By Edmund Gosse. 

" Mr. Gosse has written an admirable and most interesting biography of 
a man of letters who is of particular interest to other men of letters." — 
The AcadepWt 

Lif» of Crabbe. By T. E. Kebbel. 

"No English poet since Shakespeare has observed certain aspects of 
nature and of human life more closely; and in the qualities of manliness 
and of sincerity he is surpassed by none. . . . Mr. Kebbel's monograph 
is worthy of the subject." — Athenaum, 
Life of Darwin. By G. T. Bettany. 

" Mr. G. T. Bettany's Life of Darwin is a sound and conscientious 
work." — Saturday Review, 

Life of Dickens. By Frank T. Marzials. 

" Notwithstanding the mass of matter that has been printed relating to 
Dickens and hb works ... we should, until we came across this volume, 
have been at a loss to recommend any popular life of England's most 
popular novelist as being really satisfactory. The difficulty is removed by 
Mr. Marzials's little book." — Athenceum, 

Life of George Eliot. By Oscar Browning. 

"We are thankful for this interesting addition to our knowledge of the 
great novelist." — Literary World, 
Life of Emerson. By Richard Gamett, LL.D. 

" As to the larger section of the public, to whom the series of Great 
Writers is addressed, no record of Emerson's life and work could be more 
desirable, both in breadth of treatment and lucidity of style, than Dr. 
Garnett's." — Saturday Review, 

Life of Goethe. By James Sime. 

"Mr. James Sime's competence as a biographer of Goethe, both in 
respect of knowledge of his special subject, and of German literature 
generally, is beyond question." — Manchester Guardian, 
Life of Goldsmith. By Austin Dobson. 

"The story of his literary and social life in London, with all its 
humorous and pathetic vicissitudes, is here retold, as none could tell it 
better." — Daily News, 

New York : Charles Scrib.ner's Sons. 

Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. By Moncure Conway. 

" EsLsy and conversational as the tone is throaghoat, n6 imj^^t &et 
is omitted, no useless fact is recalled." — Speaker. ' ^ '' ^ • * ' 

Life of Heine. By William Sharp. ^ •'■:,. 'a 

"This is an admirable monograph . . . more fully wrktea ;9P to the 
level of recent knowledge and criticism of its theme, than any othiec Engusb 
work." — Scotsman, ' \ , 

Life of Victor Hugo. By Frank T. Marzials. 

*' Mr. Marzials's volume presents to us, in a more -handy iqxtA tbmi.any 
English, or even French handbook gives, the summary of wUati up^to.thf 
moment in which we writQ, is known or conjectured about the Ufe pf the 
great poet,**— Saturday jRemmf* . i , 

Life of Samuel Johnson. By Colonel F. Grant 

" Colonel Grant has performed h^s tas)c with diligence^ souad. jud^eati 
good taste, and accuracy." — Illustrated Londqn News^ . ^ ., 

Life of Keats. By W. M. Rossetti. 

"Valuable for the ample information which it contains. "-*-6biRiMa^ 
Independent, . i 

Life of Lessing. By T. W. Rolleston. 

*' A picture of Lessing which is vivid and truthful, and 'has enofigh of 
detail for all ordinary purposes." — Nation (New York). .. :" ? • ' *( -* 
Life of Longfellow. By Prof. Eric S. Robertspp. 
"A most readable little book." — Liverpool Mercuiy, 
Life of Marryat By David Hannay. 

"What Mr. Hannay had to do — give a craftsman-like accbunt pf a 
great craftsman who has been almost incomprehensibly undervalued — 
could hardly have been done better than in this little volume." — Meut- 
Chester Guardian, 

Life of Mill. By W. L. Courtney. 

" A most sympathetic and discriminating TaoxcLOxi** -^Glasgow Herald. 

Life of Milton. By Richard Garnett, LL.D. . . 

" Within equal compass the life-story of the great poet of Puritajiisip'has 
never been more charmingly or adequately told." — Scottish Leader^ * 

Life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. By J. Knight. • ' . . 

" Mr. Knight's picture of the great poet and painter is the fuHest and 
best yet presented to the public." — The Graphic, 

Life of Scott. By Professor Yonge. 

** For readers and lovers of the poems and novels of Sir Walter Scott, 
this is a most enjoyable book." — Aberdeen Free Press. 

Life of Arthur Schopenhauer. By William Wallace. 

" The series of * Great Writers' has hardly had a contribytion of more 
marked and peculiar excellence than the book which the Whyte Professor 
of Moral Philosophy at Oxford has written for it on the attractive and 
still (in England) little known subject of Schopenhauer." — Mah^kester 
Guardian, '■■^- "• 

Life of Shelley. By William Sharp. ■ • - ^' ^ 

" The criticisms . . . entitle this capital monograph to be radked with 
the best biographies of Shelley. " — Westminster Review, f " ' '• ' 

. • .J* ; 

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 

Life of Sheridan. By Lloyd Sanders. 

'* To say that Mr. Lloyd Sanders, in this volume, has produced the 
best existing memoir of Sheridan is really to award much fainter praise 
than the book deserves." — Manchester Examiner, 

" Rapid and workmanlike in style ; the author has evidently a good 
practical knowledge of the stage of Sheridan's day." — Saturday Review, 

Life of Adam Smith. By ll. B. Haldane, M.P. 

"Written with a perspicuity seldom exemplified when dealing with 
economic science." — Scotsman, 

" Mr. Haldane's handling of his subject impresses us as that of a man 
who well understands his theme, and who knows how to elucidate it." — 
Scottish Leader, 

'* A beginner in political economy might easily do worse than take Mr. 
Haldane's book as his first text-book." — Graphic, 

Life of Smollett. By David Hannay. 

"A capital record of a writer who still remains one of the great masters 
of the English novel," — Saturday Review, 

"Mr. Hannay is excellently equipped for writing the life of Smollett. 
As a specialist on the history of the eighteenth century navy, he is at a 
great advantage in handling works so full of the sea and sailors as 
Smollett's three principal novels. Moreover, he has a complete acquaint- 
ance with the Spanish romancers, from whom Smollett drew so much of 
his inspiration. His criticism is generally acute and discriminating ; and 
his narrative is well arranged, compact, and accurate." — Si, Jameses 

Life of Schiller. By Henry W. Nevinson. 

"This is a well-written little volume, which presents the leading facts of 
the poet's life in a neatly-rounded picture." — Scotsman, 

" Mr. Nevinson has added much to the charm of his book by his spirited 
translations, which give excellently both the ring and sense of the 
original.'* — Manchester Guardian, 

Life of Thackeray. By Herman Merivale and Frank T. Marzials. 

"The book, with its excellent bibliography, is one which neither the 
student nor the general reader can well afford to miss." — Pall Mall Gazette, 

'* The last book published by Messrs. Merivale and Marzials is full of 
very real and true things.'* — Mrs. Anne Thackeray Ritchie on "Thackeray 
and his Biographers," in Illustrated London News, 

Life of Cervantes. By H. E. Watts. 
Life of Voltaire. By Francis Espinasse. 
Life of Leigh Hunt By Cosmo Monkhouse. 
Life of Whittier. By W. J. Linton. 
Life of Renan. By Francis Espinasse. 

Complete Bibliography to each volume, by J. P. Anderson, British 
Museum, London. 



Eari Vohiirn v/ill cottlain from jo lo 70 lUuslraliom and 
fiam 3SO IB SOO pages. 

In each of these volumes the object will be to 
give an anthology of the humorous literature 
of the particular nation dealt with. France, 
Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, and Holland 
will each have their respective volumes; England, 
Ireland, and Scotland will each be represented, 
as will also America and Japan. 'From China 
to Peru' the globe will be traversed in search of its jokes, in 
so (ar as they have recorded tbemselves in literature. The 
word Humour admits of many interpretations; for the pur- 
poses of this Series it has been interpreted in its broadest 
generic sense, to cover humour in all its phases as it has 
manifested itself among the various nationalities. Necessarily 
founded on a certain degree of scholarly knowledge, these 

volumes, while appealing to the literary reader, will never- 
theless, it is hoped, in the inherent attractiveness and variety 
of their contents, appeal successfully and at once to the in- 
terest of readers of all classes. Starting from the early p:^riod<! 
of each literature — in Italy, for instance, from the fourteenth 
century, with Boccaccio, Sacchetti, and Parabosco; in France 
with the amusing Fabliaux of the thirteenth century ; in Germany 
from Hans Sachs ; characteristic sketches, stories, and extracts 
from contemporary European and other writers whose genius is 
especially that of humour or esprit will be givea Indicating 
and suggesting a view and treatment of national life from a 
particular standpoint, each volume will contain matter suggestive 
of the development of a special and important phase of national 
spirit and character, — namely, the humorous. Proverbs and 
maxims, folk-wit, and folk-tales notable for their pith and humour, 
will have their place; the eccentricities of modern newspaper 
humour will uot be overlooked. Each volume will be well and 
copiously illustrated ; in many cases artists of the nationalities of 
the literatures represented will illustrate the volumes. To each 
volume will be prefixed an Introduction critically disengaging and 
marking the qualities and phases of the national humour dealt 
with ; and to each will be appended Notes, biographical and 


Cloth Elegant, Large i 

', Price $1.15 per vol. 

THE HUMOUR OF FRANCE. Translated, with an 

Inlroduciion an.\ N'ole<:, by KJizabelh L«. Wilh numerous 

Illuslralions by Paul Fienzeny. 

" From Villon lo Paul Verlainc, from daleless /o/'/iai/j: lo news- 
papers fresh liom the kiosk, we have a tremendous range of 
le\eaiara."~~Birmin^liam Daily Gazelle. 

" French wit is excellently represented. We have here examples 
of Villon, Rabelais, and Moliere, but we have specimens also of 
La Hoehefoucauld, Regnard, Voltaire, Beaumarchais, Chamforl, 
Dumas, Gautier, Lablche, De Banville, Pnilleron, and many others. 
. . , The book sparkles from beginning to end." — C/o*« (London). 

THE HUMOUR OF GERMANY, Translated, with 

sn Introduction and Note;, by Hans MUIIer-Casenov. Wilh 

numerous Illusliations by C. E. Brock. 

An excellently representative vol u me. —Z'fljT)' Teh^raph (London). 

"Whether it is Saxon kinship or the fine qualities of the collec- 
ti(Hi, we have founil thii volume the most entertaining of the three. 
Its riotous absurdities well overbalance its examples of the oppres- 
sively heavy. . . . The national impulse to make fun or lh« 
war correitpondenl has a capital example in the skit from Julius 
Stettenheim."— .A'lta. York Iiuiipenaenl. 

wYork: Charles Scb 


THE HUMOUR OF ITALY. Translated, with an In- 
troduction and Notes, by A. Werner. With 50 Illustrations and a 
Frontispiece by Arturo Faldi. 

"Will reveal to English readers a whole new world of literature." 
— AthetuBum (London). 

" Apart from selections of writers of classical reputation, the book 
contains some delightful modern short stories and sketches. We 
may particularly mention those by Verga, Capuana, De Amicis. . . . 
Excellent also are one or two of the jokes and * bulls * which figure 
under the heading of newspaper humour." — Literary World {J^n^ovi). 

THE HUMOUR OF AMERICA. Selected, with a 

copious Biographical Index of American Humorists, by James Barr. 

** There is not a dull page in the volume ; it fairly sparkles and 
ripples with good things. — Manchester Examiner, 

THE HUMOUR OF HOLLAND. Translated, with 

an Introduction and Notes, by A. Werner. With numerous 
Illustrations by Dudley Hardy. 

** There are some quite irresistible pieces in the volume. The 
illustrations are excellent, and the whole style in which the book 
is produced reflects credit on the publishers." — British Weekly. 

** There are really good things in the book — things of quaint or 
pretty fancy, things of strong or subtle satire. . . . Even Mark Twain, 
m * Tom Sawyer ' and * Huck Finn,* does not show a finer knowledge 
of the humours of imaginative boyhood than is displayed by Conrad 
van der Liede in * My Hero.'" — Daily Chronicle. 


O'Donoghue. With numerous Illustrations by Oliver Paque. 

** A most conscientiously, exhaustively, excellently compiled book ; 
the editor could not have done his work better. . . . Every f^enre of 
Irish Humour as it is, or has been, written, from the twelfth century 
down to the evening-newspaper age." — The Speaker (London). 

THE HUMOUR OF SPAIN. Translated, with an Intro- 
duction and Notes, by S. Taylor. With numerous Illustrations. 

THE HUMOUR OF RUSSIA. Translated, with Notes, 

by E. L. Boole, and an Introduction by Stepniak. With 50 
Illustrations by Paul Fr^nzeny. 

THE HUMOUR OF JAPAN. Translated, with an 

Introduction, by A. M. With Illustrations by George Bigot 
(from Drawings made in Japan). 

The Contemporary Science Series. 

Edited by Havelock Ellis. 

Crown Szo, CloiJu Price %\,2^ per Vo.ume. 

I. THE EVOLUTION OF SEX. By Prof. Patrick Gf.ddes 

and J. A. Thomson. With 90 Illustrations. Second Edition. 

" The authors have brought to the task — as indeed their names guarantee 
— a wealth of knowledge, a lucid and attractive method of treatment, and a 
rich vein of picturesque language." — Nature, 


TUNZELMANN. With 88 I II US'. rations. 
'* A clearly- written and connected sketch of what is known about elec- 
tricity and magnetism, the more prominent modern applications, and the 
principles on which they are based." — Saturday Review, 


Taylor. Illustrated. Second Edition. 

*• Canon Taylor is probably the most encyclopedic all-round scholar now 

living. His new volume on the Origin of the Aryans is a first-rate example 

of the excellent account to which he can turn his exceptionally wide and 

varied information. . . . Masterly and exhaustive." — Pall Mall Gazette. 


GAZZA. Illustrated. 

** Brings this highly interesting subject even with the latest researches. 

. . . Professor Mantegazza is a writer full of life and spirit, and the natural 

attractiveness of his subject is not destroyed by his scientific handling of it.'' 

Literary U orld ( Boston ). 


With 135 Illustrations. 

**The book is as i:iit.'ic>iin^T as a novel, without sacrifice of accuracy or 

system, and is calcuLiied to give an r.ppreciation of the fundamentals of 

pathology to the lay render, while forming a useful collection of illustrations 

of disease for medical XL'^txtncQ.^'—Joitmal of Mental Science, 



**His book will probably remain for some time the best work of reference 

for facts bearing on those traces of the village community which have not 

been effaced by conquest, encroachment, and the heavy hand of Roman 

law." — Scottish Leader, 

VIL THE CRIMINAL. By Havelock Ellis. Illustrated. 

"An ably written, an instructive, and a most entertaining book," — Law 
Quarterly Review, 

"The sociologist, the philosopher, the philanthropist, the novelist — 
all, indeed, for whom the study of human nature has any attraction — will 
find Mr. Ellis full of interest and suggest iveness." — Accuiemy. 

VIII. SANITY AND INSANITY. By Dr. Charles Mekcier. 

" He has laid down the institutes of insanity."— i1/«W. . , ., , 

"Taken as a whole, it is the brightest book on the physical side of 
mental science published in our time, —Pail Mall Gazette, 

IX. HYPNOTISM. By Dr. Albert Moll. Second Edition. 

" Marks a step of some importance in the study of some difficult physio- 
logical and psychological problems which have not yet received much 
attention in the scientific world of England." — Nature. 

X. MANUAL TRAINING. By Dr. C. M. Woodward, Director 

of the Manual Training School, St. Louis. Illustrated, 
" There is no greater authority on the subject than Professor Woodward." 
'-'Manchester Guardian, 


" Mr. Hartland's book will win the sympathy of all earnest students, 
both by the knowledge it displays, and by a thorough love and appreciation 
of his subject, which is evident throughout." — Spectator, 


*' An attractive and useful introduction to the study of some aspects of 
ethnograpy. " — Nature. 

" For an introduction to the study of the questions of property, marriage, 
government, religion, — in a word, to the evolution of society, — this little 
volume will be found most convenient." — Scottish Leader, 


"Among the distinguished French students of sociol(^. Professor Letour- 
neau has long stood in the first rank. He approaches the great study of 
man free from bias and shy of generalisations. To collect, scrutinise, and 
appraise facts is his chief business. In the volume before us he shows these 
qualities in an admirable degree. ... At the close of his attractive pages 
he ventures to forecast the future of the institution of marriage." — Science, 


Sims Woodhead. Illustrated. 
"An excellent summary of the present state of knowledge of the subject.'* 
— Lancet. 


**It is at once a treatise on sociology, ethics, and paedagogics. It is 
doubtful whether among all the ardent evolutionists who have had their say 
on the moral and the educational question any one has carried forward the 
new doctrine so boldly to its extreme logical consequence." — Professor 
Sully in Mind, 

XVI. THE MAN OF GENIUS. By Prof. Lombroso Illus- 

** By far the most comprehensive and fascinating collection of facts and 
generalizations concerning genius which has yet been brought together." 
—JitumaJ of Mental Science, 

New York: Charles Scribnek's Sons. 

Pearson. Illustrated. 

*' The problems discussed with great ability and lucidity, and often in a 
most suggestive manner, by Prof. Pearson, are such as should interest tiU 
students of natural science." — Natural Science. 

By Ch. Letourneau, General Secretary to the Anthropo- 
logical Society, Paris, and Professor in the School of Anthropo- 
logy, Paris. 

'*M. Letourneau has read a great deal, and he seems to us to have 
selected and interpreted his facts with considerable judgment and learning." 
— Westviinsier Review, 

Edward Hull, LL.D., F.R.S. 

*' A very readable account of the phenomena of volcanoes and earth- 
quakes. " — Nature. 

XX. PUBLIC HEALTH. By Dr. J. F. J. Sykes. With 

numerous Illustrations. 
''Not by any means a mere compilation or a dry record of details and 
statistics, but it takes up essential points in evolution, environment, prophy- 
laxis, and sanitation bearing upon the preservation of public health." — 

Growth and Present Condition of some Branches 
of Meteorological Science. By Frank Waldo, Ph.D., 
Member of the German and Austrian Meteorological Societies, 
etc; late Junior Professor, Signal Service, U.S.A. With 112 

"The present volume is the best on the subject for general use that we 
have seen." — Daily Telegraph (London). 


Price $2.50. 


DITY, By Augiisl Weismanfi, Professor in the University 

of Freiburg'in-Breisgau, With 24 fllustraiions. 

" There has been no work published since Darwin's own books which 
has so thoroughly handled the matter treated by him, or has done so much to 
place in order and clearness the immense complexity of the factors of heredity, 
or, lastly, has brought to light so many new facts and considerations bearing 
on the subject." — British Medical Journal, 

With numerous Illustrations. 

•* His accuracy is undoubted, yet his facts out-marvel all romance. These 
fiurts are here made use of as materials wherewith to form the mighty fabric of 
evolution. ^^— Manchester Guardian, 

New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 

XXIV. MAN AND WOMAN. By Havelock Ellis. Illus- 

"Altogether we must congratulate Mr. Ellis upon having produced a 
book which, apart from its high scientific claims, will, by its straightforward 
simplicity upon points of delicacy, appeal strongly to all those readers outside 
purely scientific circles who may be curious in these matters." — Pall Mall 

"This striking and important volume . . . should place Mr. Havelock 
Ellis in the front rank of scientific thinkers of the time." — Westminster 

By John A. Hobson, M.A. 

j " Every page affords evidence of wide and minute study, a weighing of 

facts as conscientious as it is acute, a keen sense of the importance of certain 
I points as to which economists of all schools have hitherto been confused and 

\ careless, and an impartiality generally so great as to give no indication of his 

f [Mr. Hobson's] personal sympathies." — Pall Mall Gazette, 

ENCE. By Frank Podmore, M.A. 

"A very sober and interesting little book. . . . That thought-transference 
is a real thing, though not perhaps a very common thing, he certainly 
•' shows." — Spectator. 

PSYCHOLOGY. By Professor C. Lloyd Morgan. With 

" A strong and complete exposition of Psychology, as it takes shape in a 
mind previously informed with biological science. . . . Well written, ex- 
tremely entertaining, and intrinsically valuable." — Saturday Review. 

Industry among Primitive Peoples. By Otis T. Mason, 
Curator of the Department of Ethnology in the United States 
National Museum.